The valley is rocking with every style of music you can imagine from classical, blues, rock and roll from the 50’s to the latest—Glitch Soulazz. Vocal artists coo, croon and belt out their melodies for all to enjoy.
There is another type of symphony that only a small percentage of us get to enjoy—the Symphony of the Rocky Mountains during Elk Rut. Late in August and through September, the mating season goes into in full swing for these shadows of the forest; some hunters call them ghosts because it’s an animal weighing 800 pounds of more that appears and disappears as if it was never there.
The elk are the conductors and the lead vocalists in the Symphony of the Rockies. An hour before the breaking of dawn, a bugle breaks the silence and is answered by other bulls in the area. The symphony is about to begin.
Trying to locate the performer, the hunter answers with his own elk call. He’s soon answered by another blast of the elk’s bugle. This eerie serenade lasts throughout the day and into the twilight.
Other artists are not to be left out. As the morning advances, a hawk high overhead offers his shriek, followed by the out-of-tune caw of a crow and then a happy chorus of songbirds. The wind adds to the background of sound as it blows through the thick, dark timber.
Then, suddenly, and as shocking as the smashing of a cymbal, you will hear the clash of antlers as dueling bull elk battle for the rights to the herd. The largest and strongest will prevail with the second-place contender quickly disappearing into the forest. He will return next year, bigger and stronger, and will again attempt to claim his rights to the herd.
But now the wind is the only sound you will hear. As evening approaches and the bugles die, the final performers take center stage. The coyotes cast their throaty chorus into the darkness as the hunter sits by his campfire thinking about the thrill of the Rocky Mountain Symphony he was lucky enough to attend.
The Symphony of the Rocky Mountains is a command performance that is played for only six to eight weeks a year. For those willing to hike high to the mountain ridges, this special time will offer the performance of a lifetime and memories that will echo down the years.