Apr 182011
 

I do a lot of walking in the Colorado foothills, and I’ve seen a lot of chewed aspen. It still impresses me how the Elk chew this bark (the typical two teeth marks makes me think there must be a lot of buck teeth Elk out there.) How on earth do they digest that stuff? Crazily they even seem to enjoy it. In a snowy winter, I guess it is some of the better fare!

Today I came upon something new…

I entered this small aspen grove, and a number of the reasonably sized trees were downed. I didn’t figure out why, but with the winds and snows can be tough, so seemingly healthy trees were laying close to the ground. I found fresh tracks, a fresh bed, and significant signs of activity. These trees had been chewed, and chewed and chewed… from top to tail.

The Aspen Grove : downed trees

The Aspen Grove : downed trees

I’d never seen this much chew in one place. The trees must’ve been at the perfect height for a munch, and in a nice quiet, undisturbed location. The fresh tracks painted a picture of a single animal, and I imagined a solitary bull Elk spending the winter deep in these woods, finding this (perhaps literal) windfall.

Downed Aspen : chewed (a lot)

Downed Aspen : chewed (a lot)

It was a privilege to be in this place where a large animal had recently been spending it’s time. Eating, sleeping, chewing.

Nice virtual encounter…