Keith and I set off on Friday morning from Boulder with the intent of climbing Le Petit Grepon, a classic rock climb in Rocky Mountain National Park. At the trailhead parking lot at 5:00 am, we stepped out of the car to encounter stiff winds and unexpectedly cold temperatures. After completing about half of the 5 mile approach, we stopped at a point on the trail where we could see up the valley into the region where we would be climbing. Many of the visible peaks were engulfed in clouds, and the wind was not letting up. We both felt that the conditions would have permitted an ascent of the spire, but we would have been cold and miserable for the entire climb. While still waiting for conditions to improve, we saw a lone cow elk in the creek bed below us. Keith went down to investigate (i.e. take photos and see how close he could get to the wildlife).
He got pretty close and we both took a lot of pictures. He returned back up the hill to where I was standing and we noticed a half dozen more elk within about 50 feet of us, working their way down the hiking trail. Soon enough, more elk emerged, the last of which was a 5-point bull. The small heard (about a dozen in total) slowly moved their way down the trail until some hikers came up the trail and scared the elk back past us. We must have been taking elk pictures for nearly an hour when we finally decided to head back another day for the climb. Unfortunately, it was early and a bit dark when we were taking all the pictures, so most of them didn't turn out too well. On the hike down, the clouds parted enough to reveal fresh August snowfall in the higher elevations.