Just how does one even try to explain there were 1,000 elk on the range anyway..?
Take LOTS of pictures and hope for the best...and so I did..
Mocha and Suzie weren't nearly as impressed as I was by the spectacle, and instead wimpered and moaned until I eventualy let them out at Mallards Landing - along the Yellowstone.
They had their usual blast of energy while I sat against a tree and chilled as I'm accustomed to do every other day off work.
As the sun began to set I assumed the elk we'd seen earlier higher up might have moved further down so off we went..
Note the two shadows in left hand corner - as that's Mocha's noggin along with Suz's - stickin out the back window...as we pulled out of Mallards Landing an headed south..
Here they come, but were taking their sweet time..
The elk were still plentiful and moving about in-mass (as seen thru my binos), but still not down as far as I'd expected yet; so we ventured on till we ran into even more critters - and were very suprised at what we found..?
As we rounded a bend near 'Carbella Access' on the Yellowstone, we ran into this beautiful small band of Bighorns feeding along the roadway..
Though they stuck around for a few minutes and 'put on quite a show'; as usual I ventured too close and they tired of me encroaching and hightailed it up to where they knew I'd never climb..
One didn't seem to mind and let me take a few more, but he too eventually decided to join his kin.
So back down to the valley floor we rode and spotted a thousand more mule deer as well as the intended elk...
They were 'everywhere', scattered by the dozens and hundreds. At least four seperate herds of them showed at dusk on either side of the road along the Yellowstone and had invaded almost every pasture along the way. All grazing as if not a care in the world.
There truly were at least a thousand head of elk and possibly more, but I'd given up counting. Most of the bulls, with exception of two smaller ones I saw had already dropped their head gear, but I didn't come across any racks I could spot from the main road. Same for mule deer; ...absolutely ridiculous how many were out and about.
At least 500 stood on the expansive Dome Mountain Ranch and it was on the eastern side of the river, along a narrow road where most were grazing.
Still, even up on the main road into Yellowstone Park (another 10 miles down)at least a few hundred more had made themselves at home; much to some ranchers dislike I'm sure.
.."Are we done yet, I've seen enough elk?" Suzie asked.
..And so we left the massive herd of Paradise Valley to do whatever it is they do at night; once we men drive home in our heated trucks and sleep in our warm beds (with our warm dogs)..
But we'll be back and that much is certain. It'd be a shame to visit such wonders only once in ones' life.
Might even head back tomorrow ...Heck, I never know what I'll do from day to day until the notion strikes me..