||10-02-07 01:58 PM
An Amazing Experience
Not a bicycle story but since most of the 50 plusers seem to be into nature, I'm going to tell it here anyway. A couple of friends and I went backpacking over the weekend in the Cataloochee section of the Great Smoky Mountains. After making camp, we hiked to the area where elk, which have been reintroduced over the past few years, can sometimes be spotted. We came upon a big field that contained eight cows and one bull, a monsterous animal with a full set of horns on one side but just one "spike" on the other. The rut was evidentially in full force and this bull was strutting around, charging trees, and bugling a high-pitched wailing cry ever so often. Then another bull in an adjacent field answered his call and headed toward the first bull just a hundred feet from where we were watching. Both bulls slowly moved toward each other, then proceeded to walk along side by side as if they were feeling each other out. Then suddenly, one of them wheeled around to challenge the other. They had several full speed collisions, very loud and violent, then circled around and around like boxers with their antlers entertwined. The charging and the circling repeated several times over a ten minutes period. What an amazing sight to see in person, up close!! Finally the original bull was defeated and ran off, pursued by the new champion! The winner returned shortly and proceeded to move the herd of cows (who had paid very little attention during the fierce fight) into the area from where he originated. He tried to breed with several of the cows but was shunned every time. I guess you could say that he won the fight but lost the war. Through all this, I felt like Marlin Perkins was going to interrupt with a Mutual of Omaha commerical at any time.