Nontraditional style seems to be an overall theme for the 2017 Fall Decor Trends...Mix and…
Autumn is a wonderful time to get outdoors and explore! From pumpkins, to corn mazes, and of course fall foliage, there are so many things to do. I love how no matter where you are, the trees are all on fire with color–the reds, the oranges, the browns, and the yellows–however, they are especially vibrant in the mountains. Recently, we booked a last minute weekend getaway to Denver. We knew we’d see some beautiful foliage, especially from the uniquely Coloradan Aspen trees. However, the highlight of our trip was an unexpected surprise that came from the herds of Elk we saw at Rocky Mountain National Park!
“Wow, I am beat, but I’m sure happy to be here,” said the friendly stranger.
“Huh?” I thought to myself. Oh, the man sitting across from the me on the rental car shuttle wanted to chit-chat. It was nearly 3am (EST) and we had finally arrived in Denver after hours of multiple delays.
“Um, yes, it’s definitely nice. Were you on the flight from Georgia too?” I said, mustering up some casual conversation. It turns out the stranger had been on our flight and was very excited to be back visiting Colorado. We shared niceties about how much we all loved the state and then he said…
“I hope I timed it well. If you hit it just right, you can see all the Elk herds in Rocky Mountain National Park before they get too aggressive. It’s mating season right now, you know. They’re everywhere. I love to come out here and just take beautiful photos.”
Now he had my attention! “Mating season? Elk herds everywhere? My kids would love that!!!” I said.
And then I thought to myself “Forget about the yellow Aspens–we’re gonna head straight to Rocky Mountain National Park!!!!”
And head to RMNP, we did!
Our Fall Day trip from Denver: Elk Season in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
From Denver, it’s only an hour and 1/2 drive-straight up I25 then I36. (It’s a great day trip from Denver, or a weekend getaway from elsewhere.)
Estes Park is the beautiful little town at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park. Upon arriving, we noticed it was extremely crowded and then realized it was Elk Fest weekend! Elk Fest has been going on for 17 years and celebrates everything Elk: Elk bugle call contests, to arts and crafts, educational seminars, etc. After walking around a little, we headed to RMNP and saw dozens of cars stopped on the side of the road. “Honey, pull over! I bet there’s Elk!” I said. And sure enough, there were!!!
Here’s my Periscope video that I shot when we first arrived. (Follow me on Periscope! From your Periscope app-just search Technotini. Periscope is the fun, new video app from Twitter that allows you to record or watch live broadcasts from anyone in the world!)
Elk mating season lasts for a few weeks starting in late September going through early-mid October. The Elk take over the park and surrounding areas looking for mates. It’s an amazing time to not only see all of the herds but also HEAR the males bugle and watch them interact with their herds and other competing males!!
Here is a video I shot of two herds and the competing males whistling and bugling. The male from the herd that’s pictured above, decided to cross the street (HALF WAY POINT in the video) and compete with the male of the neighboring herd. It’s exciting to hear their bugle calls up close and personal!
Unfortunately, my battery died so I was unable to film the whole face-off. In the end, the bull gave up, crossed back over to his herd in the valley and rejoined all the females. As if to assert his authority, he went around to each female, sniffed her butt and nudged them all in closer to form a tighter circle. It was amazing seeing these animals in their natural habitat, and I would definitely recommend adding Elk Season to anyone’s bucket list (or annual list) of Fall Must-Do’s!
We, of course, still ending up seeing our fair share of beautiful Aspen trees. I showed my girls how they jingle like bells in the wind and we collected some to take back to school.
Travel Tips for the Rockies:
- If you plan on visiting multiple locations, for example: Rocky Mountain National Park, Boulder, Colorado Springs, or Summit County (Ski Resort territory), stay in Denver. Its central location allows for lots of jumping around.
- Drink LOTS of water!!!! I CANNOT stress this enough! We all know that it’s good to drink 8 glasses a day for traditional wellness. But if you’re visiting Colorado, which is a very dry climate at a high altitude-you need to DOUBLE THAT. A good rule of thumb is a bottle of water at least every 2 hours. Signs of dehydration: headache, nausea, tiredness.
- Safety Tip for viewing animals: We’ve all seen those crazy YouTube videos of folks on vacation filming wild animals and all of a sudden, the animals get a little too close for comfort. You don’t want to spook them. Assess the situation and determine if it’s safe to leave your car. When viewing wild animals, remember not to get too close or make loud noises. In our case, there were a lot of families with small kids standing around watching the animals, and there was even a volunteer ranger guiding traffic and keeping folks a safe distance from the Elk. So we all got out and took a closer look.
Have you seen Elk in person? Share your thoughts with me below.
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HI! I’m a Shana, self-proclaimed Media Mixologist, wife, and mom to two little girls. I love to mix up cocktails of crafts, recipes, wellness, family and business with just the right amount of sparkle to help you shine everyday. So, grab a glass, and let’s celebrate the cocktail of life!