|These photos were taken one late spring day as I was hiking near Mt. Mestas. This is at the very north end of the range occupied by the Trinchera herd.The Trinchera herd was first released in Vermejo Park Ranch about 50 years ago. The indigenous Rocky Mountain Elk were pretty much killed off by 1900 and this was the first attempt to bring elk back into the area.The story is there were 50-some Manitoban elk in that first trainload brought down by the foreman at Vermejo Park Ranch and set loose. Two years later the ranch hands counted the herd and discovered that they had done very well in their new habitat. Then the ranch foreman brought in another trainload of Manitoban elk and that was it.
At this point, there are 50,000+ head in the herd and they are scattered everywhere from Taos to Mt. Blanca on both sides of the Sangre de Cristo’s. They’ve done so well they outnumber the people here.