October in the Smokies has two concurrent spectacles. The fall color is obvious. The elk rut is mostly overlooked as its sequestered mainly to the lesser visited Cataloochee Valley. The campground has less than 30 campsites and there are no ‘amenities’ to draw the larger crowds… thankfully. While the one road gets “busy”, it’s nothing like Roaring Fork or Cades Cove.
This bull elk was alone and without a harem. Meaning he wasn’t the biggest bull on the block. However, he was patient, untagged, and was engulfed by the slightly backlit early morning fog.
1/200 sec; f/6.3; ISO 3200; +1EV; 519mm