Thursday, November 30, 2017

Chance Encounter with an Elk Stampede

Riley and I were taking our afternoon walk a little earlier than usual.  I had just put a pecan pie in the oven (per my son's request.. as if we didn't have enough of pie already, ha!) and had homemade bread rising, and since I had about an hour's window of time, we took our walk earlier than usual.

It was a brisk nippy day, and I walked along enjoying the cool air that nipped my cheeks.  Suddenly I realized Riley had stopped in the road in front of me, and was staring very intently at something. I always pay attention to the dogs as I walk as I know they are the best alert system I have.  I was slightly below her as we were climbing a hill, and I couldn't see her perspective.  I continued walking, as she stood very still,  and then I saw what she saw, ears... lots of ears! Oh, just deer, I thought, as they often graze in that field.  However as I got closer, I realized these weren't deer, but were a herd of about 19-20 elk.  I stopped then, and watched quietly with Riley. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and turned my camera on.  Suddenly something must have spooked the herd and the stampede began.  My heart was in my throat as my ears filled with the noise of the thundering hooves, stampeding in my direction!  It all happened so fast that I barely had time to press the camera button to try to capture the action.  I did wildly think in a short millisecond, what should I do if they come my direction, but it all happened so fast that I stood rooted in my spot.

As the girls thundered past me, no more than 20 yards away, I was close enough to feel the earth shake as they ran by me.  Riley remained rooted in spot, as did I, in the middle of the road. Suddenly I saw what the stampede was all about...  it was a bull elk chasing the gals.  As he thundered up behind the girls, suddenly he became aware of me, and turned, stopped... and stared me down.  I can tell you in that moment, as he and I locked gazes, that I knew I was putty in his hands.  I couldn't move.  I just quietly returned his gaze and moved the phone away from direct contact with his gaze to hopefully put him at ease, because I know that anything pointed in their direction feels like a threat, even a phone. Once I did that, he relaxed, turned, and went back to chasing the gals across the road.

At that point, Riley came back to me.  It all lasted about 36 seconds, but it seemed much, much longer than that!  Riley sat at my feet and we just watched them until they crossed the road, went down into a draw and back up into the mountains.  When the world was quiet again, the only noise that I could hear was the pounding of my own heart!

One never knows when an unexpected encounter with wildlife will happen.  We have been very prepared before to see wildlife, and have seen nary a thing.  And then, in a few moments of time, I witnessed an event that my husband and son are really wishing they had gotten to see!  We have seen elk many, many times.  But never have I seen them stampede like this.  So thankful that it all ended well, and that I had presence of mind to capture most of the event.  Riley and I continued on our walk and I could see the path that the elk had taken before us, as Riley followed their tracks as we walked.

Here is the video below, and the quality is not great, as I was unprepared for this kind of action! The camera gets a little wobbly and then I move it away from the bull's direction as he stares me down.


How thankful I am that I got to see these magnificent creatures in action!  As that bull stared at me, I realized how you can be frozen in an instant. I felt completely unable to move as we watched each other for what seemed longer than it was, and that image of him and I staring at each other will remain in my heart forever!  I went back through the video, and realized that for a full 2 seconds we stared at each other.  Long enough to make an impression, one that I will never forget!

The pictures that follow are taken from my video, and are not of the greatest quality, but you get a sense of my stare-down moment with this bull elk.









You can see the tracks on the road that the elk left as they thundered across. 

Riley smelling the tracks of the elk where they crossed into the draw and headed up into the mountains. 
As I returned home to pull the pecan pie from the oven just as the timer started to go off, I thanked the Lord once again for the magnificence of His creation, and there was amazement in my heart at having had this kind of an unexpected encounter with His creation.




67 comments:

  1. Whoa, too cool!! smiles. Yumm, Pecan Pie, smiles. I hope you have a beautiful, joyous day, friend.

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    1. Thanks Linda for your visit! This holiday season has me quite behind in my blogging! Hope all is well with you!

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  2. Oh wow!! That was magnificent!!! I am SO glad you were able to capture as much as you did of those marvelous creatures rushing past in their stampede...and that BULL ELK! WOW!! How majestic!! Amazing! Thank you for sharing this with us, and thank YOU, LORD, for Your marvelous creation! Oh, and your pecan pie looks wonderful too! Makes me want a piece right now at 7:48 a.m.! LOL!!! Have a blessed day. You've already blessed my day with these photos! I watched our deer family saunter about in our yard this morning and then run off, but nothing like THIS!!

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    1. It was truly an amazing moment to be able to stand there and watch them run by me! This holiday season has me quite behind in my blogging! Blessings to you and your precious family!

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  3. what a beautiful and scary and phenomenal experience!!!!

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    1. It was such an incredible moment in my life Maria, I will never forget it! I'm thankful I was able to capture it on video too. Many blessings to you dear friend!

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  4. Wow, how wonderful to witness an elk stampede. Love it.
    And that pecan pie...oh my.
    Have a great weekend!
    Toni

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    1. It was so amazing to witness the elk at that close of a range. A memory I'll cherish always! And the pecan pie didn't last long at all! Appreciate your visit Toni!

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  5. Ooj, thank you so much for sharing th short video and your photos. It is so powerful!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the video, it was amazing to see it in person! Thank you for your visit :)

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  6. Amazing video and photos! What an experience.

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    1. It was quite amazing Mildred! An experience I will never forget! Happy hugs to you today :)

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  7. What an experience. I bet you were glad to get back home with Riley. He was good not to try and chance the herd. Great shots too. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

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    1. I was thankful that Riley was smart enough to not try to chase them! Things could have gone very differently. It was an incredible moment to experience though! Appreciate your visit Susie :)

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  8. I so enjoyed the video on instagram and now on a bigger screen. God's creatures are so amazing. That pecan pie looks delicious.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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    1. I'm glad you got to enjoy the video again Betsy. I've rewatched it several times myself! I hope you are doing well friend! I have been absent in the blogging world, so much going on with the holidays. Hugs to you today!

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  9. Well now, that was amazing. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. I am glad that you were in a safe spot and are thankful that you shared it with us. That is something I will certainly never encounter on my afternoon walk. Although...lately there has been an increase in the deer population in our area. We see them all the time, which is dangerous, as they are usually near the road. The other day I was driving down a residential street at night and a large buck was running across the lawns, parallel to my car, at the same speed. Luckily, he kept on his path and I stayed on my own...but that's not always that case, I know. Enjoy the weekend!

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    1. Deer really are such a hazard, and I'm thankful the deer ran away from you, and not in front of you! Yes, we never know what kind of animal we may encounter here in our walks, but most of the time, my walks are quite uneventful, lol!

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  10. WOW! That is at the same time awesome and scary.I would not want to interfere with a bull Elk.They are majestic creatures, that's for sure. Thanks for your kind comments on my blog.

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    1. I was so thankful that the bull elk was not very concerned about me too! It was a great event to witness, and I'm so thankful for your friendship too! I pray you have a blessed Christmas and New Year :)

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  11. Wow, that's pretty amazing and scary all in one! So thankful you were alright! That is surely a video to treasure!!

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    1. It is truly a memory I will treasure for a lifetime! Thank you for your visit Ang! I pray you have a blessed Christmas and New Year :)

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  12. Thankful that Riley stayed put and that the bull elk didn't charge at you.
    wonderful photos and video!
    Yup, makes me homesick for Utah.

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    1. Yes, so very thankful indeed! I would be missing the mountains too, there is just something comforting about them! Hugs to you today Annie!

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  13. I saw this on IG and figured you might have more details here and I am happy to see I was right :).i have to say I felt like I was right there with you in that moment! Your description was spot on. That experience would be scary, magnificent and unforgettable all at once. Animals in the wild are so fascinating!

    (Pecan pie is hubby’s fav).

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  14. What would have happened if he had charged at you?

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  15. This is amazing! My heart would probably have stopped. No kidding, that bull elk stopping and looking would have scared me to death. Glad you and Riley are safe.

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  16. An amazing thing to witness!

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  17. Marilyn, how scary and wonderful all at once. Those elk are HUGE! I am so glad that you and Riley were safe.

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  18. Oh wow I love when you come across elk in the wild, it does get my heart beating pretty good too. That would be a little nerve racking with the stampede going on though. Glad it all turned out well and that Riley kept quiet and by your side!

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  19. Oh that is scary dear Marilyn!

    i awe your dare to face all this so calmly ,amazing spirit my friend!

    while reading this i felt my heartbeat little faster than normal and many memories sprang up in mind when i was almost in the same situation .
    But thank God that they passed away and bull decided to stick it's first chase .
    this is brave to think of your camera and filming the event even when situation is threatening and for this i feel proud of you Marilyn:)

    Such memories last forever and thrill they cause keep shaking senses for looong

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  20. Oh Marilyn, what a once in a lifetime and amazing experience. I am so glad that it all ended up with you, Riley and the elk all safe. They are magnificent animals!

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  21. WOW, how wonderful was that! And, you came home to a beautiful pie ready to come out of the oven.

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  22. That was an unbelievable encounter and staring in his eyes sounds exciting and frightening. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  23. That must have been very scary!

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  24. What a scary, yet remarkable, encounter, Marilyn! Love that you were able to record it even though it was frightening. Elks are magnificent, but they aren't creatures to mess with, that's for sure.
    Oh, and I'd love a piece of your pecan pie - looks scrumptious!
    Blessings!

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  25. Marilyn, what a sight this must have been for you. Oh, to see the Elk, how amazing. I enjoyed watching the little video - you are one brave gal getting so close and trying to get them in action.

    Your pecan pie looks scrumptious. I was just telling someone that it's been so long since I had pecan pie.....and I love it!

    You live in such a beautiful area, and it is a dream of mine to live around nature as you do.

    ~Sheri

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  26. Wow! That sounds like quite the experience! I'm glad the bull elk decided the female elk were more interesting than you were!

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  27. Amazing, beautiful creatures.

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  28. WOW!!! We visited Estes Park, CO years ago and got too close to a herd and they charged our car! We have a hysterical video of my hubby driving in reverse and me yelling "faster, faster - they're gaining!". They are magnificent creatures! Good thing you pooch alerted you!

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  29. Oh, my word! This sounds so amazing! I think I would have not had any trouble freezing in place, because I don't think I would have had the courage to move a muscle! LOL! What a harrowing, yet exciting thing to have happen! So thankful for God's protection of you. I hope to email you soon. God bless you and always keep you safe, sweet friend!

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  30. Oh wow! So happy it was a magnificent brush with God's creatures and not a stampede over you and Riley! Scary but fabulous at the same time. Isn't it amazing at how now you can look back and really see all that was happening? Very cool.

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  31. Wowzers! That elk stampede was something else. Glad you were able to see it and they didn't want to run through you! Beautiful creatures.

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  32. Marilyn, What a wonderful display of the Father's creation! I'm glad you and Riley were far enough away to be safe! That would have been so scary had they turned and come straight at you. What a good pup Riley was. Once, years ago while backpacking my girlfriend and I woke up to a thundering ground shaking sound-it was a cross country ride and all the horses were coming down the hill to where we were, thankfully they didn't come too close, but I'll never forget that sound.
    That pie looked delicious.
    Have a great weekend.
    Hugs, Noreen

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  33. WOW, WOW, WOW!! That is absolutely awesome and amazing! I know that he could have probably jumped that fence, but I'm still grateful for it being there! What a wonderful blessing to get to see that! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  34. That was an amazing adventure that could have, but fortunately didn't, turn out badly. I'm amazed also that you thought of filming; I think I would have been frozen and unable to move. I enjoyed the video and the stills of that bull Elk staring at you.
    Your pie looks delicious!

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  35. Oh WOW...what an experience that had have been...my son would have loved to seen this! They are such beautiful creatures and I am so glad that Mr. Buck meant you no harm. What a blessing it must be to live in such a place where you can witness this just by taking an afternoon walk. And that pie......SLURP!!!

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  36. My husband would have paid money to see that. I probably would have been scared too death. A great story to tell and your pecan pie is perfection!

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  37. Marilyn that sounds amazing! But scary! But totally amazing! But scary! I'm glad he didn't charge at you. We haven't come across wildlife like that yet. We have elk, deer, antelope and javelina. Javelina pronounced ha-va-leena look like wild boar and are very vicious. They won't hesitate to charge at intruders.

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  38. How exciting.....the things you witness when out for a walk!! How amazing to witness the beauty of these creatures. The bull elk is a magnificent fellow.

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  39. That's so amazing, Marilyn! I would have been frozen too.

    That pie looks delicious :)

    xo,
    rue

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  40. Marilyn: You certainly live in a glorious part of the country. You must see so many amazing sights, but this must have been at the top of the list. What an adventure that could have turned badly quickly. That bull was magnificent and probably looked much bigger than he really was being that close to you, making eye contact. Glad it all turned out well and that you and Riley got to witness it. And talk about creations: that pie looks wonderful..Happy Week to you..Judy

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  41. Wow!!! I saw this on Instagram but it is not near as intimidating as on the laptop and enlarged! What a fabulously scary thing, staring him down. God created a pretty powerful and awesome animal. I'm so happy He allowed you to capture this stampede on video. And that's a right delicious looking pie you have there. :)

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  42. Hi,
    I find this amazing Marilyn! I do want to come visit you someday. I share your posts with my husband. We have a friend who lives in Montana and we have visited many times. We fell in love with Montana, I must say, we would love your area.
    Thank you for sharing,
    Carla

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  43. Thanks for sharing us wonderful photos of the wild animals. Happy week.

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  44. Wow Marilyn, those elk can MOVE! I'm so glad they stayed away from you, not to mention that bull moose too. I don't know what I would have done. I don't think I'd have taken pictures, that's for sure!

    Your pie looks delicious. My brother makes a mean pecan pie too, I love them!
    Ceil

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  45. How very amazing that you got to witness such a thing! They are beautiful creatures, and I'd be like you...just rooted in place. Thankful for your safety!
    Oh....such another beautiful pie! I'm sure it was delicious!

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  46. Wow, thankfully you had comfort food to come home to! Heart pounding for sure! I get rattled when I hear a few deer running through the forest...that little fence wouldn't have stopped that bull...good thing you know how to react, but I can completely understand the "frozen" moment you went through!

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  47. Glad he went on about his business and left you alone. They were beautiful running through the field.

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  48. LOL I was just scrolling through all your elk stampede photos again (I can't get over it really!) and then I was like, "OH, Pie!" LOL!! But back to your stampede, it is amazing that you got to witness that! I wonder if you will ever be that lucky again! Wow! Riley probably didn't know what to think! Hope all is well, stay warm! xx Linda

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  49. This is so cool Marilyn!! My boys were a bit jealous when I showed them the video on Instagram. Magnificent is definitely what that was. See...God's gifts are truly Magnificent indeed!!

    That pie looks delish!! Yum!

    Enjoy this Christmas season my friend!

    Hugs, Amy

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  50. Amazing and double wow! See why we have to take our cameras with us on walks? I'm sure YOU know why! That you get to witness such stunning examples of our nature and outdoors is just such a blessing. I think I would have been glued to the spot too.... I'm amazed that you had the foresight to film it! My husband, who hunts alot, said the bull elk was just curious when he stared at you... just checking to make sure you weren't another bull elk! Like one of the gals said above, he was way more interested in his girls! You wrote your experience beautifully too... always look forward to seeing what your newest adventure is. I'm sure all of your followers want to live where you do! (me too......) Hugs.. Marilyn

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  51. Oh my goodness - how incredibly amazing! I am glad that it all turned out well and you are safe. I know how large elk are and bulls are unpredictable, especially this time of year. Your heart must have skipped a beat or two! I think I would have had to go have a lie-down after that! Wonderful video - so beautiful. Hugs and blessings for your week. xo Karen

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  52. Lovely wild nature!
    I`m following your blog with a great pleasure in GFC
    Follow back? Sunny Eri: beauty experience

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  53. You go outside in nippy weather, meet some elks and come back to pecan pie. I go outside to unseasonably hot and dry weather, meet the neighbors' cat and come back to yogurt. There is no justice in this world.
    Amalia
    xo

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  54. Oh my gosh that must have been quite the experience. I'm so glad that Bull Elk decided to leave you alone. - Enjoy your photos and Video.

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  55. What a cool experience! God has made many magnificent things.

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