Not much to report today on the elk front. There is a small herd behind the Mill Pond, and just stragglers elsewhere. This limited viewing will not last with significant weather changes just ahead.
Cattle are now grazing again in the Ponca fields. That is the kiss of death for elk grazing, it is about 95% certain you will never see elk and cattle in the same field for long, if at all.
If there is anything good in this it is the look ahead. Today is the last day of relatively warm weather before temperatures head down to seasonal normal temperatures, and more cloudy weather. If elk hate anything, it is hot sunlight and warm temperatures. Wednesday has a 50% chance of precipitation, and there is a chance through Friday. This is a significant pattern change, and the elk will react to it.
With the exception of the fields with current grazing cattle, Boxley Valley from the Lost Valley entrance to the south trail head will be the place to expect to see elk. What this means is that visitors should drive the whole valley before settling on a viewing choice.
It has been interesting this year to see how seldom the fields around the highway 43/21 intersection have had an elk herd in them. Common sense tells me at least one elk herd will show up in these fields because for all intents and purposes they have not been grazed. They are all supposedly planted as a food plot.
With the weather change and cool temperatures, I expect good if not great elk viewing by the weekend. There are a few herds around, but they are just not in the valley for now. We shall see.
Fall color is very good now if not at peak. Photographers and sightseers will enjoy the fall beauty that our national treasure has to offer. Photographers will want to get the fall color pictures while they are still possible. Think about river landscapes and pool reflections. Not enough photographers look at river reflections for fall color inspiration.