On May 5, 2008, in Uncategorized, by Meghan

I’ve written about winter kill carcasses in my blog before. Several times, actually. Is it a bit strange that I write about dead things, and that, in turn, you read about them? Sorry about that. Dead things are lying everywhere; the world is currently littered with them. During Sunday’s 28 mile long run, I stopped counting at 28 winter kill carasses. That’s more than 1 dead thing per mile of mostly elk, a few deer, and 1 bison. Some of them have been fed upon, while others remain relatively untouched, bloated, and stinking. Oh, I’m sorry for writing that, too.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s been a long, hard winter in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, and the wild things are paying for it. This is Mother Nature’s way of culling the herds, though, separating the weakest from the rest of the respective populations. However, knowing that this is natural doesn’t make it easier to witness all the death, destruction, and maiming. There’s a certain dead elk that I’ve had a sympathetic eye on along one of my running routes. The carcass is conscpicuously perched atop a high rock outcropping with a commanding view of the world. It’s almost as if that cow elk climbed upon her final resting place to get one last good view before succumbing.

Happily, the tough ones have surivived, and spring is really here. I pulled my car over today to watch a huge herd of bison in a sagebrush meadow. There were over a dozen baby bison in this herd, and several of them were frolicking exactly how you might imagine baby bison would play. Awkward, squirmy, front hooves kicking, hind legs bucking. They were just so-danged darling that I joined the tourists on the side of the road to watch.

And on last week’s 25 mile long run, I watched in awe as two wolves played on a hillside not too far off. Actually, they were playing with a herd of pronghorn antelope. The way the topography worked, I was able to run and watch the scene for about 15 minutes. However, it seemed that the wolves weren’t hungry as they bluff chased, and the pronghorn weren’t particularly scared as they only half-ran away. It was a fascinating springtime show!

Such is the dichotomy of spring: just as the world is currently littered with death, it’s also littered with life.


9 Responses to “Littered”

  1. JeffO says:

    I’m so jealous! That is such an incredible thing to see! Wolves and pronghorns playing. (There goes the neighborhood.)
    Winter wasn’t as harsh down here in Colorado.

  2. sea legs girl says:

    First, I’m so happy for you that you got your masters! And now you’ve got free time with Yellowstone right outside. I love reading about the nature you see there, death included. Sadly, it makes me think about time ticking away and the possible loss of the natural beauty of the earth.
    I just went to your link to Marathon des Sables and it sounds so amazing. I’ll be curious to know what sort of food you pack and how you pack it.
    Finally, thanks for all of your comments on my blog. You always make me smile. You were exactly right that those people at runango don’t feel compelled to follow normal social rules on the internet. Thanks for being a friend.

  3. Backofpack says:

    I’d like to see the babies playing, and the wolves/pronghorns must have been amazing. I’m not so keen on the dead things though – hopefully the air isn’t permeated with the odor – 28 in 28 miles would not allow for much fresh air!

  4. WynnMan says:

    I’ve watched Timberwolves take down white tails while hunting. It’s an amazing site. They cover an expansive area. Sounds like the wolf vs. pronghorn scenario is very similar to the moose vs. wolf situation on Isle Royale National Park just north of here. I’ve got an epic plan for that island. I will divulge later.

    Congratulations on getting accepted into the Des Sables! Your “trailname” will be camel jockey. Is there a beach or large sandbox in Yellowstone that you can train on?

    I see you want more lovin from the Ice Age Trail. Looks like you’re taking on the silent killer hills of the southern terminus. You’ll have to finish off the trilogy by doing the toughest section which is the Glacial Trail 50 in the fall. I did this race last year and just love the course. Beautiful fall, techinical as hell, and 10,551 ft. of gain.


  5. Bob Gentile says:

    Sounds like ummm a “smelly” long run –lol

    Looks like wynnman knows a lot about KM…”silent killer hills of the southern terminus”.

    I have heard from a few peeps including the RD Timo, that the rolling hills can really sneak up on the runners!

    Book that Flight ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. chelle says:

    Hard to even imagine all you’re seen from out here…New York is SO removed from nature. Spring here is just about pretty flowers and odd and interesting new fashion choices.

    I haven’t seen a dead animal while running since our resident red tail hawk scooped up a squirrel in front of me last fall.

  7. Danni says:

    First, sounds like you’re getting some great long runs in. Good job! Second, it must be so cool to live right in the middle of it all. I’m not a fan of rotting dead animals while running – but it’s neat that you get to be where the animal kingdom action is.

  8. Meghan says:


    JeffO- There goes the neighborhood!

    Sea legs girl- Thank you! I have a lot to learn about everything Marathon des Sables related. But I will share as I learn. Also, you’re very welcome, and it’s my pleausre.

    Michelle- It was altogether sad and exciting, so much death and life.

    Wynn- I would LOVE to see a timber wolf, you are lucky! I can’t wait to hear your Isle Royale plan. You’re right, I’m coming back for more of the Ice Age Trail!

    Bob- The hills are not going to kill either of us. We’re both going to run them smart, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Chelle- I can’t believe that happened right in front of you! Amazing, especialy for NYC!

    Danni- Wanna come down for a long run? I’ll put you smack dab in the middle of animal kingdom. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Have a nice day, all!

  9. Danni says:

    I haven’t been to Yellowstone since I was little — I do need to get down there! But no way could I keep up with you ๐Ÿ˜‰

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