Hoh River with the Mountaineers
October 24, 2009
Yesterday, Jackie and I were privileged to go with the Mountaineers Photography outing led by Heidi Walker to the Hoh River.
We were intrigued by the outing blurb which confidently proclaimed that one could plan to take pictures of Elk.

We left home in the dark. As we came into Forks, it began to turn light, and in the fog we saw the first of three elk herds which
we were to see on our way to the Hoh. Note that the elk are all females as rutting season was coming to a close.
As we came into the Hoh visitor center area, Jackie gleefully pointed at an elk in the campground.
There were a total of four male elk in the campground, two of them brothers.
The elk were oblivious to the campers and their pets. Several different campers came up to us and told us that they come here
at this time of year every year and the same elk are always hanging out in the camp ground. One of the Mountaineers who
arrived a few minutes before us said he stopped for about 15 to 20 elk in the roadway.
Below, Heid gets a jacket from her tent while an elk looks on.
Did you know that elk can poop sitting down? OK, what did you expect of the guy who sends pictures of his wife from the
Recovery Room?
We watched with fascination as a Pileated Woodpecker pecked a big hole in a tree. His head moved incessantly so that it was
a blur in most of the pictures I took.
The highlight of the day was an encounter with a Northern Pygmy Owl! According to one of the group members, this is the
smallest owl in the world, but further research indicates it is merely one of the smallest in North America if not the world. The Elf
Owl in Arizona is probably just a little smaller than the Pygmy Owl.
Jackie met a young man who asked her to make a phone call for him and then he posed with her. Unfortunately, vampires are
invisible to my digital camera.
The plan was to go to Ruby Beach and take pictures of a glorious sunset.
As the time came for sunset, the sun disappeared. As it grew dark, the group abandoned hopes for a spectacular sunset and
drove to Forks for pizza and mingled among the vampires.
For those who have not seen it, this is a black bear that Jackie and I encountered on Obstruction Road two weeks ago shortly
after sunrise. Two days later Obstruction Road was closed for the winter.
A story that Heid told us she heard from the ranger. A couple months ago a man had a heart attack in the camp ground at the
Hoh and the rangers were giving him CPR. As they were assisting the man, an elk walked by and the man's wife grabbed a
camera to take its picture. When the rangers questioned her about her concern for her husband she responded that her
husband had these attacks all the time, but an elk experience was very rare.

A photographer must keep her priorities straight.
Thanks for coming to this page,

Elston and Jackline Hill