Exiting The Stanley to go to lunch one day, Kane, Shawn and myself got in the car and started the long drive around the building when a sight I had never seen before caught my eye… a heard of giant hoofed animals. Yelling like an excited child I pointed out the window, trying to figure out what I was looking at. While I have traveled the world and lived in many states, I’m not much of an outdoorsman, therefore I did not know what the hell the horse like animals milling around the building were. Shawn, our trusty, but slightly off camera man, snorted that they were Elk as if I were stupid for not knowing this. Having just learned what this magical species was, I blurted out that we had to “go see them”.
Kane granted my request and pulled over to the side of the road for us to get out. Shawn quickly grabbed the camera and suggested we get some shots of us looking at the Elk as we might be able to use it for something. Being a huge animal lover, most of my experiences with furry creatures have been on the cute, cuddly and positive side (minus an experience with a pissed off poodle when I was eleven that still haunts me). Animals are kind creatures after all, so I foolishly assumed that Elk were on the long list of furry things I could pet. I should have been clued into the fact that they are in fact not friendly by the way Kane and Shawn were staying behind me. Their Cervus Elaphus knowledge was clearly much more vaste than mine (that means Elk, and yes I had to look it up).
As I worked my way closer to the herd, I noticed a sweet looking, but massive Elk slowly coming towards me while most of the others lounged on the ground or grazed. Being that they were literally, four feet from the building, I figured they must be use to humans and that some might even feed them. While I had no food with me, I put my fingers together and reached out as if offering a lovely little carrot for my new friend, who was now bowing his head as if to say hello in a cute way. Behind me I heard a small snicker from Kane and some whispering between Shawn and him, but I ignored it as I was about to feel how furry this cutie was. The big guy lowered his head some more and took a step closer.
“Guys! They are friendly, he thinks I have food!” I tried to whisper over my shoulder to see if Kane and Shawn would join me. As I turned my head back to make a kissing sound to entice him to my hand… the bastard suddenly bucked up a bit, shooting his front hoofed feet in the air, then slammed them hard on the ground, digging in as he started to charge me.
I would love to make something up here and talk about how I used my ninja skills to dive and roll out of the way why simultaneously calming the animal, eventually taming him to the point where I rode him into town, but being overweight, clumsy, easily frightened and wearing dress shoes on cold slippery grass while a 900 pound demon Elk charged me, things did not turn out that way. Like a cartoon character, my feet started spinning under me as I turned and ran in sheer fear, sure I was about to be crushed to death. After only several steps I found my ever so graceful self not heading away from the Elk, but instead right towards the ground face first. I had tripped. Tripped so badly in fact I had no time to put out my arms, rather I slammed right into the crunchy grass and dirt. As my face scratched against the earth I could only think of how much the hooves were going to hurt crushing down on me. Miraculously, nothing touched me as I scrambled to my feet and kept running.
As I reached the road, I looked back to see my friend had given up on his pursuit. Gathering my bearings, a cackling sound emanating from Kane took me out of my confused state. He was almost doubled over laughing hysterically. “Please tell me you got that on film!” Kane bellowed, oblivious to my well being. Shawn, somehow still filming, with a cigarette in his mouth yelled that he got it. Trembling, I started a small nervous laugh as I brushed myself off. Kane and Shawn joined my side, still laughing. “You really didn’t know that they would attack you?” Kane asked as if it was common knowledge. Looking at him, then Shawn, I realized they both knew this fact and yet they let me walk right up to one. Some friends… of course these very same friends talked me into going up to them again.
Shawn for some reason, though probably being egged on by Kane, said he needed to get some more shots of us near the Elk so he could edit it with the footage of me falling. Of course I protested, but then figured that now that I knew they were dangerous, I could keep a far enough distance to be safe. Famous last words…. While this time I was prepared and did not plan on getting close at all, it was too late, the Elk was already pissed that I had entered his territory the first time. Within ten steps of going back on the grass, the same big boy (who had suddenly lost all his cuteness) charged. This time it was not a warning, he was not stopping. The seven foot monster was so intimidating, even Kane started to run. With a horrible sense of dejavu, I turned and once again tried to run. This time I made it off the grass, yet, in all my gracefulness, I tripped, again. And again, it was so fast I did not get my arms out in front of me. This time I hit so hard I actually bounced a bit off the ground. Being asphalt and not forgiving grass, this time I did not get up so quickly.
With all my clumsy missteps in my life, I have never hit the ground as hard as I did in that moment. As I rolled over with a moan, I found myself next to the car in the middle of the street, totally forgetting that I had an Elk hot on my heels. Apparently, when he saw me fall a second time, the Elk stopped, shook his head and turned around to laugh about it with his friends. I was in too much pain to care about the other tourists who were watching me or the fact that an animal didn’t think I was a worthy opponent. There was a burning ache going down my left shoulder, my hip was on fire and I couldn’t really move anything below the waist. Kane of course was laughing his ass off again. As the stars began to clear from my eyes, I noticed Kane standing above me shaking his head. “Who the f*ck falls twice, really, two times!” He said in some sort of varying half laugh a dozen times while asking Shawn if he caught it on camera… of course he did.
After a solid two minutes I was able to painfully get up and assess the damage. I thought I broke every bone in my body, but Kane told me to suck it up. In fact, I was rather hurt (at least in the sense where a hangnail is major trauma in my life). The next morning I woke to find out that I had pulled every muscle in my stomach and that my hip was purple as well as my hand being cut up. My hip hurt so much, three weeks later I found myself getting x-rays to see if the bone was chipped. It wasn’t, but I wish it was so I could have proved Kane wrong for calling me a wuss.
In severe pain and bleeding a bit, we had lunch in town. Afterwards Kane smashed an ice cream cone (that I was drowning my sorrows in) right into my face, the crunchy, yet delicious cone, split my lip wide open. At this point, bleeding from the lip, hand and hurting all over, I started to wonder why I was friends with this maniac who lets me get attacked by elk then smashes ice cream in my face… all before one in the afternoon. At least it makes for a good story I guess.