Elk Rut in Full Swing in Cataloochee Valley
This morning I'm racing toward the Cataloochee Valley, gulping down coffee as I go - mountain mist is thick! Wednesday, the group for the Lens Lugger photo program will be on the way there; but, I've got to know when the gate will be open. Seems to change by the moment. No Problem. We just want to be there early enough - that probably means 1/2 to 3/4 hour before the regular 8AM opening. Last I heard from my regular contact, who has been transferred that post, is “whatever the law says.” What law? Who's in charge? I thought the Rangers were the Law. Use to be that the campground host would open the gate. Then someone else was in charge. Got to find out who…
The way up, then down to the Cataloochee Valley and the Elk…
I's now 7:30 as I get to Cove Creek. The winding road up to the Continental Divide now starts. This is pretty remote area but have traveled this way a hundred times. The light is just now creeping over the first mountain range. Around the bend, and loosing altitude now, over the gravel dirt road - once the original oxen road back in the 1800's. Up ahead the pavement begins, then past the Campground and to the ranger station. Some ground mist now, but the sun has not yet come over this mountain.
Rounding the bend, up ahead is the Ranger station and the GATE is OPEN! Great. I's 7:45 so that means the regular 8AM opening is ealier. Now, to find out if the Elk are here… Usually they are -- is the rut going strong? The battles for the elk herd can be heard already, first the bugling ripples through the valley, antlers clash in the distance and chases take place.
For more information on the Rut and some tips on photographing the elk drop a line to PO Box 1153, Waynesville, NC 28786 to Bob Grytten & Associates or e-mail Bob Grytten
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