The older I get, the more the simple pleasures of the outdoors seem to fascinate me. In the spring, it's the morning wake-up call of a tom turkey from a distant ridge.
This summer, it was standing above the Frazier River and watching thousands of salmon swimming upstream to their final destination. This week, it was the shrill bugle of the bull elk as he sounded off, proclaiming his dominance to other elk in the area.
In our busy lifestyles and commitments to jobs and careers, it is important to sometimes just stop and enjoy the area where we live, the Rim Country.
We have a healthy population of elk that are currently in the rut, or breeding season. For the next few weeks, the bulls will be vocal. In certain areas of Payson, you might even be awakened by a bull challenging another bull for his harem of cows.There are not many places where you can have a cup of coffee on your deck and hear bugling elk nearby.
I know the bulls may strip a sapling tree, as they have done in our neighborhood, or from time to time, get into a garden for a midnight meal. But remember, they have lived in this area a lot longer than most of us and we are literally living in their neighborhood.
If you haven't heard the shrill whistle of a bugling elk and would like that opportunity, then take an early morning ride out the Houston Mesa Road.
The elk are vocal before sunrise for about an hour, depending on their mood and the weather conditions. The 12-mile trip to Whispering Pines is a great way to begin an annual trip of listening to elk during the rut.
When you see a cow elk at this time of year, it is very likely that a bull is close by. And if he sounds off, you will know why he is called the "King of the Woods."
Any of the back roads along the Mogollon Rim probably have a population of wandering elk that you might see in the early morning or late afternoon hours. A telltale sign that elk are nearby can be a freshly rubbed tree, stripped by an antler, a puddle or stock tank, called a wallow, that has been muddied by a bull elk. To watch a trophy bull with his harem of cows is an awesome picture in the wild. This weekend, enjoy God's creation.