One of our prestigious Vancouver alumni is visiting Banff at the moment (some of you will know him as Loky, activities coordinator and night watchman extraordinaire), and a couple of us had the day off so we decided to take the afternoon to check out Lake Minnewanka. It was the first rainy day in weeks so we set off thinking we had really bad timing as the we looked up at the looming clouds. But just as we came over a hill to get a view of a big clearing I mentioned to the others in the car to keep an eye out for animals and then we saw them, an entire herd of elk. We immediately stopped the car and pulled over to get a better look. There were about 20 of them just chilling out and eating grass, seemingly oblivious to our presence. I’ve seen a lot of elk wandering around town, but never in a herd like this. It’s ‘rutting season’, which means the males are extra aggro while they’re trying to get frisky with the females. There was a second male wandering around the outskirts of the herd and for a moment we thought we’d get a good Discovery Channel type fight but they were playing it cool in front of us.
When we realized they weren’t going to give us a show we started to drive back to Banff. We only got a few hundred meters down the road before seeing another, smaller herd in the next clearing. This group gave us another show as the male kept trying to mount the females. I think they were shy with us watching, because the females were playing hard to get.
I’m just happy that Amanda suggested checking out Lake Minnewanka, and that we braved the cold and wet weather or we would have missed this awesome show.