Author: Phoebe Carnes

  1. Echoes in the Mountains: The Next Generation

    Echoes in the Mountains: The Next Generation Images by Phoebe Carnes The early morning mist had just dissipated as the sun began to rise over the mountains. The Oconaluftee River was clear and cold, rejuvenated from a light shower the previous night. A cow watched me warily from the forest, ears up and nostrils twitching as she deciphered my scent. A fuzzy copper head peaked out from Read more...
  2. Echoes in the Mountains: A herd in sacred waters

    Echoes in the Mountains: A herd in sacred waters Images by Phoebe Carnes Before I began observing elk in Smokies, I never thought of them as water-loving creatures. But it wasn’t long before I learned that the elk here have a profound relationship with the Oconaluftee River that is as fascinating as it is multifaceted. Bull B takes a drink on a misty September morning in Read more...
  3. Echoes in the Mountains: On Bulls and Close Encounters

    Echoes in the Mountains: On Bulls and Close Encounters Images by Phoebe Carnes When I first started studying the bull elk of Oconaluftee last fall, I quickly learned that each male is an individual. They each have their own quirks that make them easily recognizable. One of the first males I began to study was a bull who goes by the name of “B” within the park service. At nearly 14 Read more...
  4. Echoes in the Mountains: Facts and Curiosities of Elk Biology

    Echoes in the Mountains: Facts and Curiosities of Elk Biology Images by Phoebe Carnes The elk found in the Great Smoky Mountains today are Manitoban elk, or Cervus canadensis manitobensis—a subspecies of elk found in southern Canada, the Midwest, and some parts of the eastern US. Manitoban elk are larger in mass (weighing 500–1,000 pounds), though they possess smaller antlers, an adaptation Read more...
  5. Echoes in the Mountains: Elk Return to the Smokies

    Echoes in the Mountains: Elk Return to the Smokies Images by Phoebe Carnes I was around seven or eight when my dad first took me to Cataloochee Valley. My memory of that day is hazy, but I remember seeing a bull elk bugle for the first time and being awestruck. The sound shook me to my core and conjured up instinctual feelings of admiration and wonder. Growing up in the shadow of the Great Read more...

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