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Old 19th February 2009, 21:33   #16
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Default Day 2 - More Elks

Here are some more Elk shots. We spotted a large herd of Elks, may be a total of more than 100 of them. There were 2-3 bulls (with large antlers) and the rest were cows.

(Apologize for the poor picture quality. The light was poor and I was having a difficult time holding on to the camera in that cold. The long zoom also played spoilsport.)

The large herd
Elks in Kentucky-dsc_0125-large.jpg

They have spotted us
Elks in Kentucky-dsc_0122-large.jpg

The herd slowly started moving away. Led by the bull, they slowly disappeared behind the slope.
Elks in Kentucky-dsc_0127-large.jpg

On the way back (taken from the backseat of the van)
Elks in Kentucky-dsc_0145-large.jpg

Day 2 ends here. We have planned to come back to this place the next day and explore on our own.
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Old 19th February 2009, 22:11   #17
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Love that pic of the elks on the slope. What lens was this? I really pity you guys for the weather you got.
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Old 20th February 2009, 00:27   #18
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Superb pics, Saurabh!
I haven't seen elks in a long long time. I love to watch them graze in herds,there's something so captivating about them.They are cautious, yet care-free while working on the grass.. (if that makes any sense).
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Old 20th February 2009, 00:34   #19
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liked the first picture very much, nice composition. wish the condition was suitable to avoid the blur.
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Old 22nd February 2009, 01:31   #20
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Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
Love that pic of the elks on the slope. What lens was this? I really pity you guys for the weather you got.
This is the 70-300mm. The weather really played a spoilsport.

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Originally Posted by Nitin View Post
Superb pics, Saurabh!
I haven't seen elks in a long long time. I love to watch them graze in herds,there's something so captivating about them.They are cautious, yet care-free while working on the grass.. (if that makes any sense).
It makes absolute sense to me. Your observation matches what we saw. These are really large animals, staying in herds and have a carefree attitude. Though they were aware of our presence, some of the Elks kept an eye on us, while the rest continued to graze. As a settled near them, minimizing our movements, they stopped bothering about us.


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liked the first picture very much, nice composition. wish the condition was suitable to avoid the blur.
Thanks
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Old 22nd February 2009, 02:02   #21
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Default Day 3 - The last day

Day 3

It had snowed very heavily all night. We woke up to a very different surroundings. It was white all around. The roads have been salted, so the main road was free of snow.

We checked out early and left the resort by 7:30am. Our plan is to go back to the Elk sanctuary again, on our own, and then head back to SC. That meant, we would have to cover around 500 miles in total and still have to return the car to Hertz by 5:30pm, in order to ensure that we are not charged for an additional day.

It was a race against time, but a very cautious race. The weather has remained bad and it was snowing intermittently. The sky was overcast. I was trying to speed up as much as possible through the winding roads, because I knew that soon we are going to hit the stretch of the road, off the highway, where there would be no snow clearance.

Elks in Kentucky-p1190279-large.jpg

If the road conditions were not of enough worry, the car was. As I mentioned earlier, the windshield washer was not working. In snowy conditions, the windshield was getting hazy from the snow and salt getting splattered all over the windscreen.

We were compelled to stop at gas stations frequently to wipe the glass clean. This was eating up time even more.

We finally reached the Elk sanctuary by 10am. The area has become fully white and it was difficult to identify where the trail was. We drove for a while and then stopped at the same place where the vans were parked yesterday.

Elks in Kentucky-dsc_0202-large.jpg

Leaving the car, we started walking along the trail towards the area where the Elks were found last evening. They were no where to be seen. We went a little further, and there they were. Probably the same herd, grazing happily on another slope.

Elks in Kentucky-dsc_0152-large.jpg

Elks in Kentucky-dsc_0188-large.jpg

It was colder than last evening and we were slipping on the snow. We stayed there for about 45mins, took some shots and left.

Elks in Kentucky-p1190250-large.jpg

The weather condition was deteriorating fast and we had about 400miles to cover in 6hrs.

Elks in Kentucky-p1190300-large.jpg

Its amazing how these people construct and maintain 4 lane highways through mountains
Elks in Kentucky-p1170050-large.jpg

All along the way, it kept snowing heavily. The entire surroundings has changed dramatically, compared to what we saw on our onward journey.

Elks in Kentucky-dsc_0204-large.jpg

I kept pressing the gas, trying to look through the hazy windscreen in front of me.

Elks in Kentucky-p1190292-large.jpg

Probably due to weather conditions, there were very few vehicles on the freeway. I tried to make up as much time as possible.

The snow got converted to rain as we entered North Carolina. Thought of giving the washer a try, and lo, it started working. It did not work when I needed it most. Now that it was raining, the windscreen got cleared as well.

The last leg was a race against time. I tried to drive as fast as I could, staying within the allowed speed limit (+10 of what is posted).

Drove the car in the parking lot, ran towards the Hertz counter and handed over the keys.

Looked at my watch, it was 5:28pm.

Elks in Kentucky-dsc_0148-large.jpg

Hope you have enjoyed the travelogue.
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Old 22nd February 2009, 02:06   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
These are really large animals, staying in herds and have a carefree attitude. Though they were aware of our presence, some of the Elks kept an eye on us, while the rest continued to graze.
Yeah, they are quite large, athletic and really noble in appearance, unlike a moose which is even larger but awkward and disproportionate looking. Wild elk are extremely wary animals and they will react to a twig breaking 200 meters away. In the mating season, fall, the bulls are very agressive and will charge humans. Their bellows in the fall are indescribable, full of wild pride. These are peaceful ruminates but they have been known to kill bears. These are deer, with an attitude.

Last edited by DirtyDan : 22nd February 2009 at 02:09.
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Old 22nd February 2009, 11:21   #23
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Oh this is news to me. But am a bit intrigued as to how these Elks manage to down a grizzly?

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These are peaceful ruminates but they have been known to kill bears. These are deer, with an attitude.
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Old 22nd February 2009, 12:56   #24
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Great pics @Saurabh as usual. I never knew such animals existed before I read your travelogue
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Old 22nd February 2009, 18:07   #25
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Awesome pics friend! Those are some great animals.
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Old 22nd February 2009, 19:10   #26
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Oh this is news to me. But am a bit intrigued as to how these Elks manage to down a grizzly?
In the fall elk bulls fight each other and sometimes wound each other. Grizzlies try to pick off the wounded. Generally this is the only way a grizzly can get close to an elk. If they fight usually a full sized grizzly kills an exhausted, wounded elk but not always. I have seen film clips and read newpaper accounts where the bear is gored. Take a look a the size and armament of the head of a big bull elk. The elk will charge right into an enemy with those antlers as hard as he can. These are not the cute little deer you meet at a petting zoo.
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Old 22nd February 2009, 22:38   #27
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Quote:
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Yeah, they are quite large, athletic and really noble in appearance, unlike a moose which is even larger but awkward and disproportionate looking. Wild elk are extremely wary animals and they will react to a twig breaking 200 meters away. In the mating season, fall, the bulls are very agressive and will charge humans. Their bellows in the fall are indescribable, full of wild pride. These are peaceful ruminates but they have been known to kill bears. These are deer, with an attitude.
Thats a great little insight about Elks. While at the resort, we saw a documentary on the Elks. Their bellow sounds like a bugle. They look pretty harmless, but as you have described, they are quite dangerous as well. I never knew that. Thanks for sharing the information.

Its also pretty intimidating to think that these animals can fight a grizzly.
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Old 23rd February 2009, 13:32   #28
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Sorry for being OT. You a Nikonian..?

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This is the 70-300mm. The weather really played a spoilsport.
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Old 23rd February 2009, 19:46   #29
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Sorry for being OT. You a Nikonian..?
Yes I am . Have always been using a Nikon. As far as the Nikonian forum is concerned, I am a member but haven't been there for a long long time.
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Old 23rd February 2009, 21:19   #30
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Excellent writeup and pictures!

One small observation though - in snow country, I would never venture on a highway with a broken windshield washer. A passing truck can blind you in an instant. Hertz has location all around. I would go to the nearest one and change the car.
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