I love walking in the high country: down long, open ridges, through intimate sub-alpine meadows, along talus slopes near flower-covered alpine tundra, and frequent vast vistas. My favorite animals are mountain goats, wolverine and pika. And while I certainly find joy in colorful songbirds or a humorous-looking puffin or toucan,
there are few wildlife subjects to me rivaling the beauty of a white-tailed ptarmigan in winter. There is a simplicity of color—deep blue skies, muted greens, stark blacks and the subtle artistry of white on white.
Pat and I have stalked and photographed Roosevelt or Olympic Elk for much of our lives. As a preteen boy I often carried my first 35mm film camera with a 50mm lens on most of my family's fishing and other outdoor adventures where I made attempts at stalking wildlife, often elk, usually with very limited success.
From time to time between other photographic adventures, Pat and I have tried to slip away for a few days and revisit some of the haunts of my youth, hoping our seasoned skills as wildlife stockers and image makers would enable us to document the life cycle of these animals. From these excursions we have come up with a number of quality images, but few showing elk cows with their young calves. In the rainforest here they are challenge worthy of our expertise: dense undergrowth and thick forests limit visibility, hidden sticks and brambles make quiet stealth impossible,These seldom visited creatures tend to be unusually spooky and shy.
This summer we chose to do a 3 to 4 mile hike every morning for a week along the Queets River. No trail, no other people, just a slow wander along river rock and sand bars and through alder/maple tree bottoms. It is an easy walk as long as one bi-passes the blowdowns, skirts the huge logjams along the river, stays out of the vine maple/devil club thickets and muddy bogs that are inevitable part of the Olympic Rainforest.
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