Amazingly, they don’t always run far. Their alarm dissipates after about a mile, is absorbed by the forest—the feathers of every branch, and the slope of the mountain itself—the rise and fall of each and every contour like the crenulations of the brain, elk running across and through your brain as you follow them, integrating yours with the mountain’s. The electricity of hunter and hunted stimulating the mountain with its old yellow light, refreshing the mountain, and keeping the world turning. And after about an hour of your so-quiet tracking, if you’re lucky, you’ll see where their single-file flight has settled down enough that they begin to unbraid, disentangle, with the one deep trough of their unified, thundering flight becoming two sets of tracks, then four, then 16, and so on, as cows and calves disentangle and go their own way, in parallel but not lockstep, and young bulls likewise—the elk herd beginning to move through the forest with some return of calm; and though that’s always a good sign, showing that they’ve slowed from a gallop to a trot, and then to a walk—soon, you will be back among them—it has a serious downside, which is that all those eyes will be looking back. And only one of them has to detect you in order to set the whole elk-bomb off again.