Leading up to the snow storm last weekend, the elk did their usual "migration" that tells me that it's really going to snow. They predict the weather better than any human meteorologist! They started heading east and downhill. Lucky for us, we're on their route. They like to stop and graze near us in the midst of their long walk.
I stalked them with my long lens. Initially, a few of the lead females were worried about me.
Soon, they ignored me. This bull and cow appeared to be deep in conversation. They stayed like this the whole time, looking at each other as they lay in the grass.
I heard some loud "mewing" as a calf searched for her mother. When they were reunited, the calf began nursing. The calf pushed upward so hard on her mother's udder that the mother's hind feet appeared to lift off the ground!
As the calf nursed, the herd was drifting eastward. The mother broke off the nursing to follow the herd. The calf still tried to cling to her mother.
Then, another explosion of calf mewing caught my attention. Another calf sprinted to her mom and began nursing.
After that calf finished a long leisurely round of nursing, the mother began grooming her calf by licking the her ears. The mother continued the ear cleaning for about five minutes.
Soon the herd was moving again. They needed to beat the storm by moving to lower elevation pretty quickly. The clouds were closing in around us.
They created my favorite kind of traffic jam as they crossed the road.
The herd disappeared to lower elevations for the snowstorm. I saw their tracks in the snow on their return journey a couple of days after the snowfall.
On the home front, it's been a bit of a bumpy road with my father but I expect that he'll be moving out of the regular hospital soon. He'll need to spend a bit of time at a rehab center. I'm having a lot of trouble keeping my spine happy (going to my PT appts) in the midst of it all. However, I still am primarily grateful that he's here and seems like he'll be able to return to his normal life fairly soon.