Sunday, September 27, 2009

Marshall Starvation

Perfect autumn day. Clear blue sky, warm without being too warm. I had to make a trip up to Marshall to be part of it.

Mount Ouray. The monolith that towers over my favorite bit of the Rocky Mountains.

The vast aspen stands that line the Marshall Pass Road are only starting to turn. The colorful ones light up their surroundings as the sunlight passes through. Love the climb up this old railroad grade to the pass...

Starvation Creek Trail

Perhaps Starvation Creek should be known as Satiation Creek. To a human being passing through on foot or on a bike, it's got quite a bit to offer. I'm sure there's a story behind the name, probably not a happy one.

Here's a picture of Mt Antora from the Starvation Creek Trailhead

The trail is so sweet down this less-traveled drainage. Sometimes passing through grassy aspen stands, sometimes through sagebrush, sometimes through thick undergrowth of young fir, willow, and down trees.

When I was almost down to the bottom, I scared up a yearling elk. It bolted across the trail in front of me from where it had been standing down in the creek bottom. The creek was on my right. This elk and another, a mature cow, crashed up onto the slope to my left. I slowed and was just going to pass through when I heard bugling from the right across the creek. I stopped and carefully pulled my pack off and quietly took out my camera. There was one animal directly across from me bugling, and then I heard another slightly upstream across the creek. Then I heard another behind me where the cow and yearling had gone.

I peered through the thick vegetation across the creek and saw the huge antlers of the first bull I had heard. I turned on the camera and moved around trying to get a clearer view. Then he got a clear view of me--our eyes made brief contact, and he turned and thrashed through the brush making a path for his antlers. But he didn't run up the slope. He just got out of sight, then kept up his grunting and whistling. The other bulls kept making noises.

I looked back up the other slope and saw a cow, perhaps the one I had flushed, standing on the slope and looking not toward me, but across the creek toward the sound of the bulls.

I wondered if I might see a fight if I hung out long enough. But I did not really have time to linger there into the evening. I put the camera back, never getting a shot worth taking. Just the memories of an autumn experience in a quiet corner of the Rockies.


Ed said...

Hey! Someone told me that was Satan's Armchair!


JenyJo said...


so awesome.....

nice post!