These are all pretty blurry, but elk are a big fucking deal to me, and the small handful of times I’ve seen them I haven’t had my camera, so I’m excited just to have any photos at all.
And I had to cheat even to get these. These aren’t elk I just happened upon in the wild; these are elk on a state-sponsored elk preserve outside of Astoria. (As many things as there are about Oregon that annoy me, it is hard to dislike a state in which you can drive less than two hours from home and be pretty much guaranteed to see your third favorite animal after moose and beavers.)
But you still have to show up at the right time if you want to see them. Elk only come out of the woods at night, so if you want a decent photo you’ve got to show up at dawn or in the evening.
To put this effort in perspective, consider that I almost hit not one, but two deer on my way back into Portland. You have to seek out elk in remote locations at special times of day; deer are basically throwing themselves at you on the highway.
So Elk are awesome, clearly. But a byproduct of this trip was renewing my appreciation for the awesomeness of Astoria. It’s been about a year since I was last there, but damn, if I were forced to live anywhere in Oregon but Portland, I would pick Astoria over Eugene, Bend, and every single Portland suburb. I don’t care if it’s smaller; it’s so dense and urbane that it feels bigger than any of those places, and what it may lack in size it more than makes up for in charm. It’s basically the Savannah of the Northwest. And — AND! — I saw a sea lion by the docks downtown on this last visit — just hanging out like it were no big deal. Even Savannah can’t touch that.