The phone rang this morning about three minutes after my husband left the house. My son answered and shouted to me, “The elk.” Ok. I knew what he meant.
We live just west of Blue Lake and at least once a year the elk come down out of the hills to graze along side the road. There are at least forty of them, with more than a few big bulls grazing among the many cows. As I drive up, they lift their towering racks majestically, and watch me watch them. They don’t trust me, but aren’t afraid. It is an amazing thing to see.
According to many newspaper reports and letters written when the whites first arrived in Humboldt County, elk herds were a common sight. As were grizzlies and rivers so full of fish you could cross the water balanced on their backs.
No more. The Grizzlies are gone, silt clogs the rivers instead of salmon and the sight of an elk herd is a novelty.
From Humboldt Bay, written to San Francisco, May 19, 1850
To the Editors of the Alta California:
… Most of the country through which we passed was the most beautiful I ever beheld. Some parts are very heavily timbered with spruce and red wood. The whole country abounds in wild game of every description. On my expedition I saw five large fine elks and had a shot at two of them with my pistol. On yesterday a party of Sonorians killed six elk, the largest weighing 600 lbs. The more I see of this country the more thoroughly am I convinced that it is destined to become the seat of a large commercial city. It has every local advantage that a site for a city can possess. The only annoyances we now have are from the Indians.