While seeing mountain goats is a fairly typical part of a visit to Glacier National park, sightings of wild goats in their natural wild habitat outside of the park are not that common at all and so I was pleased to catch a far distant look at one while on a recent visit to Mt Headley in the Cabinet Mountains of western Montana.
While I was sitting at the site of the old fire lookout at the very top of the mountain enjoying the views and eating my lunch, a very tiny speck of white on another mountain about a mile and a half to the north caught my eye. The arrow in the first photo points to the exact spot. When I set my little P & S camera to maximum zoom, it caught some photos of a goat crossing the lower edge of a cliff on that mountain.
Yes, they stand out against the rocks if you get close enough to see them, and they are large animals. They disappear quickly though as they move through crevices in the cliffs or behind rocks or the occasional trees that grow there.
They are indeed protected in the cliffs. That serves that one well because just a thousand feet or so below him on the left side of the mountain a pack of wolves was hunting that morning. Most big animals follow the demands of their diets too, so that’s probably another reason why they live where they do; plants that grow well in those locations.
It’s wonderful that you have the eyes to spot such creatures – although I’m sure your years of learning “how to look” help, too. Here, in abbreviated form, is my goat-sighting story, still slightly embarassing. I was cruising with friends in the Virgin Islands. As we were passing an especially high and rocky island, I looked up and saw white creatures just like this on the hillside. There were four or five of them, and I wondered aloud, “Who in the world would have poodles in such a place?”
Oh, dear! Of course they were goats! It’s been one of those stories that refuses to die. I guess providing amusement for folks isn’t such a bad thing!
Back in the 40′s and 50′s we saw goats quite frequently in this part of the state, even on cliffs along the highways, but hardly ever any more. This is only the second one that I’ve seen in that roadless area during many visits there.
Exactly! I hike slowly, but still too fast sometimes. It’s good to sit and examine everything in the landscape. I bet those who manned the lookout there got to see a lot of things over the course of the summers!
The arrow is a big help … I would have never seen that … what a great eye. Hate to admit it, but I have started taking pictures of things “that might be something” in order to take it home and enlarge it on my computer to see what it actually was. My eyes are getting old (just my eyes, of course ;-))
Technology has some benefits, doesn’t it! On the longer hikes I don’t carry binoculars because of the extra weight and I’ve done the same thing with the little camera and its zoom capability. Even with my 8X binocs the goat would have been pretty small at that distance. I was happy that my eyes are still strong enough to at least notice something at that distance.