Hello, kittens & dawgs! Earlier this spring while exploring on one of our many Saturday day trips, we came upon this pleasant view.
In 2001, the National Park Service (NPS) reintroduced 27 elk into the North Carolina side of the Smoky Mountains. North American elk population was close to extinction by 1900 because of over-hunting and loss of habitat according to the NPS. One can’t perceive how big these animals are until seen with the eye. They are bigger than black bears and are aggressive beasts if they feel threatened or challenged.
I really wanted to stand outside the car to snap the above picture but DH said to stay in the car. I thought the distance was fine but I really know to not get outside the car to view animals in the wild, even if it seems safe. The temptation is strong, but things can happen quicker than you think before you have time to react, so getting the shot from inside the car with the window down is good enough for me. That being said, did you know this tidbit:
Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces elk, is illegal in the park. Violation of this federal regulation can result in fines and arrest. Do not enter fields to view elk—remain by the roadside and use binoculars, telephoto lens, or a spotting scope to view the animals.
Who knew, right? Not me. It’s been quite common in recent years to see a herd of elk crossing the road in front of us several car lengths away, but never this close.
We just happened upon a half-dozen elk grazing beside the road going toward Heintooga campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Cherokee. It was so amazing. I took this a month after my surgery for an acute case of diverticulitis. Twisting to get the right shot was uncomfortable, but I got it anyway. The adrenalin rush blocked the pain. I guess there’s a bit of a “real” photographer in me after all. 😀 It’s safe to say the release program is a success given our first-hand encounters. In the below video is it mentions Oconaluftee. This is where we have sighted elk every time we’ve been to the mountains lately.
Summer is a low peak for many bloggers, so I decided to dispense with my featured photographer highlight until September. Also, I plan on being less active with posts throughout summer. The break in schedule will do me good. What I hope to do is have fun reading blogs and making new friends without the pressure of composing posts every day. I have some scheduled posts in cue and if I feel the urge to create then I will. Meanwhile, thanks for making me apart of your day!