|Mule Deer Buck|
While hiking up Elk Ridge on a blue, summer evening, the mountainside is drenched and surprisingly cold. Colorful wildflowers hug close to the muddy trail as the crackle of rolling thunder echoes from down in the meadow below.
Around the bend, occupying a nook in the forest, a young mule deer buck grazes on shoots of lush grass. His orange coat is glistening wet from the downpour of steady rain that seems to develop every afternoon.
If the bull elk is the undisputed monarch of the Rocky Mountains then the mule deer buck is the crown prince. This time of year, these regal animals are bestowed with an extraordinary rack of velvet antlers.
He moves gracefully across the rugged terrain that characterizes the Front Range foothills. The elegant creature seems undisturbed by my presence as he’s become accustomed to sharing his territory with our strange kind.
The new weather pattern tells us that the seasons are changing so this lone deer is feeding with a purpose. He’s going to need all the strength he can muster because the annual rut is just around the corner and soon after that - another harsh winter.
|A blue, summer evening|
|Thunder echoes across the meadow|
|Grazing on lush grass|
|The crown prince|
|They move gracefully|
|Undisturbed by my presence|
|Seasons are changing|