Rocky Mountain National Park
Cub Lake/Fern Falls RMNP – All Fired Up!
With a full day to spend in RMNP, we hiked to Cub Lake today and decided to go beyond to Fern Falls – an 8 mile round trip in all. The foliage is a more fiery orange/red here, although it is a late fall this year.
Flora and Fauna - Bugling Elk
Our hike was accompanied by the loud bugling of elk all along the trail.
This is rut season and you can hear it going on all around you. I thought it would be confined to sunrise/sunset – but the cries rang out around the tranquil vallies all day.
During the fall, bull elk become aggressive as this is the breeding rut. They gather harems of up to 60 females around them and fiercely defend them using their antlers as weapons as they lock in combat with other bulls for breeding rights to the cow elk.
I failed miserably to capture the sound of a bugling elk all day.
The best I could capture was a still shot of an elk in full voice – but I couldn’t put my finger on the shutter release and the video button at the same time! The elk and the foliage around here truly are “all fired up”.
We were fortunate to see elk in the forest during our hike. They are very hard to spot – well camouflaged – now you see it, now you don’t. The bugling was loud – there must have been a male in the vicinity somewhere. You could see the female turn her head to hear the cries. Then – a bit further along – we saw the male. Those antlers are awesome!
Some of the fire damaged trees looked just like elk antlers?!
It’s a shame we weren’t here on 4th/5th October – they hold an elk fest then with a bugling competition as part of it, to see who can sound most like a bugling elk ?! On second thoughts, maybe It is a good job we are going home!
We met a couple from Ohio who have a condo here in Colorado – they are looking to retire out here in 2-3 years time, when her health insurance is all fully paid up. Interesting what a big impact that has out here.
They are choosing Colorado to retire to because it has 300/365 days sunshine a year and very low humidity plus – they love hiking in the mountains.
They drive 24 hours to get out here from Ohio, sleeping on the road on the way. He was a firefighter (already retired 2 years) – she is working part time in an office. We hiked the last couple of miles of the trail with them, talking about the fires in the Fern Lake area (very severe recently), American politics and gun law. They are here for 6 weeks (she can do her job remotely) and will be able to enjoy snow shoeing by the end of their stay. Great company, again. This is such a friendly country!