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Photographer's Note

Where's the Sleigh?

Trail Ridge Road
Rocky Mountain National Park

.. and around the corner was the this jolly fellow in a red suit taking a break ...

no actually this was quite a start to our morning .. Andrew and I were on our way to our hike which was across Trail Ridge Road and the continental divide .. I had kind of promised myself that I wouldn't take many pictures on our way over trail ridge .. we had just been up here not to long ago and Andrew doesn't mind me shooting while we hike but hates me stopping the car for images .. but then I saw antlers .. and I was looking for a place to park and turn around when I looked out Andrew's window and these guys were hanging out right along the road.

It is pretty common and spectacular to find elk up here .. but I don't know if I have ever seen two large groups of bulls like this .. there was another group on the other side of the road (my initial sighting).

Must have been a lazy Saturday for them .. they hadn't moved by the time Andrew and I returned this way later in the afternoon.

ruthlessly pasted from some of my previous posts:
Trail Ridge road is one of the premier attractions of RMNP. Eight miles of the road are above 11,000 feet (3,353 meters) in elevation. One of the most stunning drives I ever experienced.

One of the most common animals in Rocky Mountain National Park is the North American Elk or Wapiti ... The elk were hunted to near extinction in the area then reintroduced in 1913. By the time of their reintroduction most of their natural predators had also been hunted to extinction and the elk have now almost taken over .. the population in Rocky Mountain National Park ranges from 1,000-3,000 depending on the season.

These are pretty large animals they can range up to 1100 pounds (495 kg) and five feet at the shoulder.
http://www.nps.gov/romo/naturescience/elk.htm

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Additional Photos by John McLaird (jmcl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2514 W: 131 N: 4070] (14535)
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