Magical arrival

It is unfair to describe a hike in the Wyoming wild to be mundane, but a trail up a rise at Fossil Butte National Monument was lovely and peaceful, but not especially photographic. A ranger described some wildlife I might see, and I really wanted to photograph a badger. But no luck. The wind was fierce and darkness was coming on, so I needed to get back to the car.

Then I turned, and on the ridge of the butte were some bull elks silhouetted against the sky. Then I could see dozens, no hundreds, of elk in the shadows of the hills. As I got to the car, I was able to get this image of the sun setting.

 Sunset, Fossil Butte National Monument, Wyoming

Sunset, Fossil Butte National Monument, Wyoming

As it got dark, the elk were bugling and crying out and you could hear the bulls battling with antlers clanging together. It darkened and the sounds seemed to get louder as the stars got brighter.

 Milky Way, Fossil Butte National Monument

Milky Way, Fossil Butte National Monument

Here is some audio from my camera. Not great recording, but it will give a sense of the night sounds of the elk. At about 12 and 15 seconds are the indistinct sounds of antlers coliding.