Category Archives: Mountain goats

August 15, 2016 Twin Lakes, Colorado

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

A Trip Up Mount Evans

From the Mount Evans Road

From the Mount Evans Road

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved roadway in North America, topping out at 14,130 feet. IMHO it also has to be one of, if not the most spectacular roads I have ever driven.

From the Mount Evans Road

From the Mount Evans Road

Climbing over 7,000 feet in 28 miles, the road travels through groves of evergreens at the start, then …

Mount Evans Bristlecone Pine

Mount Evans Bristlecone Pine

… through a rare forest of ancient, some as much as 2,000 years old, Bristlecone Pines …

Above Treeline on the Mount Evans Road

Above Treeline on the Mount Evans Road

… then breaks above treelike, providing spectacular long range vistas.

From the Mount Evans Road

From the Mount Evans Road

Above Treeline on the Mount Evans Road

Above Treeline on the Mount Evans Road

There are many miles of road above treeline, with several switchbacks and lots of unprotected drop-offs, as in no guardrails. Not for the faint of heart, but truly spectacular views.

Above Treeline on the Mount Evans Road

Above Treeline on the Mount Evans Road

Mount Evans Road From the Summit

Mount Evans Road From the Summit

At the Summit of Mount Evans

At the Summit of Mount Evans

There is a small paved parking lot at the summit …

At the Summit of Mount Evans

At the Summit of Mount Evans

… where the adventurous can scramble up these large boulders to the true peak of the mountain. Delighted that I could still simply breathe at this altitude, I decided not to push my luck and join those folks up there in the clouds.

Summit of Mount Evans

Summit of Mount Evans

Mount Evans Crest House, the castle in the sky, was completed in 1941 and was destroyed in a fire in 1979. The surviving stone and concrete walls were stabilized and the remnants of the building now serve as an observation structure. During my hour at the summit, the weather went from sunny and hazy, though still brisk in the 50’s, to blue sky, to light rain, to snowing, much to the delight of several of the small kids at the top.

Nanny and Kid

Nanny and Kid

Mount Evans Mountain Goats

Much to my delight, just below the summit, I noticed this mountain goat mom and kid taking a noon time siesta. Though not that far from the road, they were actually pretty easy to miss amongst all the light rocks surrounding them.

Mount Evans Nanny

Mount Evans Nanny

I pulled my photo gear out of the car and hiked off the road a bit to get a little closer once the mom and kid got up and began to graze.

Mount Evans Nanny on the Move

Mount Evans Nanny on the Move

Mom was joined by another nanny and kid that I had failed to initially see, and they slowly started walking across the side of the mountain.

Two Kids

Two Kids

The two kids joined up and fell in behind their moms …

Mount Evans Two Mountain Goat Kids

Mount Evans Two Mountain Goat Kids

… but like any small kids, one of these guys seemed to be a bit of an agitator ….

Two Kids

Two Kids

… turning and blocking the other’s way …

Mount Evans Two Mountain Goat Kids

Mount Evans Two Mountain Goat Kids

… not letting him catch up to his mom, as he clearly wanted to do.

Mount Evans Two Mountain Goat Kids

Mount Evans Two Mountain Goat Kids

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Not far away, I spotted a solitary male, surveying his domain, still wearing the remnants of last winter’s coat.

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

He soon was off, heading up the slope towards the summit.

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Loved getting the opportunity to get some nice shots of a large male mountain goat in his high altitude habitat.

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Not having ever had the opportunity to be this close to a mountain goat before, I was impressed with just how stocky and powerfully built this rugged guy was. Living up here in this rarefied air, I imagine a lot of that bulk has be taken up with a large set of lungs.

Three Mountain Goats

Three Mountain Goats

As I descended, I noticed more goats feeding and bounding amongst the large boulders that make up most of the summit of the mountain.

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Mount Evans Mountain Goat

Pretty nimble, graceful fellows.

Mount Evans Mountain Goats

Mount Evans Mountain Goats

A great pose from a pair of Mount Evans mountain goats. After two months of searching for elk, goats, and sheep, with nothing to show for it, I have now found two of the three just this week during my stay at Twin Lakes. Though I didn’t bother to take any shots, being just too far away, I also found a large herd of Bighorn Sheep, ewes and lambs only, while heading down the mountain.

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September 22, 2015 Glacier National Park, Montana

Iconic Shot Marred by Forest Fire

Iconic Shot Marred by Forest Fire

Park Shots and More Mountain Goats

The east side of Glacier N. P. had a rough summer, suffering once again from the ravages of forest fires. One particularly stubborn fire has marred both sides of the Going-to-the-Sun-Road   for several miles, including the slope you can see in the background of this iconic shot of Wild Goose Island in Saint Mary Lake.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Looking Up to Logan Pass

Looking Up to Logan Pass

Looking Up to Logan Pass

Looking Up to Logan Pass

Falls Below Logan Pass

Falls Below Logan Pass

The road on the east side of Logan Pass is free of fire damage once you are about half way up, leaving other iconic shots such as those above unblemished.

Many Glacier Area of the Park

The Colors of Many Glacier

The Colors of Many Glacier

I made my third trip into the Many Glacier area of the park this morning once again hoping for some bears, and once again coming away disappointed.

The Colors of Many Glacier

The Colors of Many Glacier

The Colors of Many Glacier

The Colors of Many Glacier

Last Trip up Going-To-The-Sun-Road

Glacier N.P. Elk

Glacier N.P. Elk

After my unsuccessful bear hunt in Many Glacier, i headed for Logan Pass, hoping to find some mountain goats along the way.

Glacier N.P. Elk

Glacier N.P. Elk

A bull elk was escorting his harem across some of the open fields along the side of Saint Mary Lake in an area know as two Dog Flats.

Roadside Grazing Black Bear

Roadside Grazing Black Bear

A young auburn toned black bear was grazing along the same stretch of road, obviously not being deterred by car traffic whizzing by.

Coyote Heading for Logan Pass

Coyote Heading for Logan Pass

About a mile or so below Logan Pass, I encountered this handsome coyote steadily making his way up the road heading for Logan Pass. I snapped a few shots of him and proceeded on my way.

Coyote Heading for Logan Pass

Coyote Heading for Logan Pass

Looking in my rear view mirror I could see him drop back down to the side of the road after I had passed. When I stopped a little farther up the road to take some shots of the pass, here he came again, once more climbing up the bank a ways as he detoured a bit to make his way around me.

Coyote Heading for Logan Pass

Coyote Heading for Logan Pass

After taking my shots at this second location, I drove past him again, but when I stopped once more a little farther up the road, and could still see him coming my way, I dropped down behind my car on my knees to conceal myself from him, and waited for him to come by. Not seeing me, he stayed on the side of the road and I was able to get an eye level shot of this handsome fellow as he passed by.

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

More Mountain Goats

Today I was fortunate enough to find two different goats running the steep vertical cliffs above Going-To-The-Sun-Road, just below the east side of Logan Pass, in the same area that I saw the lone goat yesterday.

Forgive the number of goat shots below, but these guys simply fascinated me. I probably spent more than three hours taking hundreds of shots of them, so bear with me as I show a dozen or so of them below.

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

The shot immediately above is an enlarged detail of the image above it. Notice the placement of the hooves along the outer edge of the ledge shelf he is so nimbly traversing. That shelf can’t be more than a foot wide, it appears, and he just casually strolls along it, more than a hundred feet up.

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

A different goat on a different section of the same cliffs, same idea, the second image is an enlarged detail of the first image. Again, note the placement of the hooves on, and actually over the edge of the rock ledge. Now, he is walking carefully, not running, but seemingly with no concern whatsoever for the fact that he is way up there on the cliff face with no soft landing below. Just incredible !

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

For the image immediately above, how did he get there? And where exactly can he possibly be thinking of going from there?

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

Glacier N. P. Mountain Goat

One image of a goat on safe terrain. Fascinating animals !

Tomorrow I leave Glacier National Park and head down the highway a bit to Yellowstone National Park, hopefully for some nice bull elk shots. Stay tuned.

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September 17 – 21, 2015 Return to the Lower Forty-eight

Glacier National Park Mountain Goat

Glacier National Park Mountain Goat

Back in the USA

September 17th

I broke camp at Meziadin Provincial park around 9 AM and headed east on Route 37 to Prince George. The last 100 miles of Route 37 was nothing special, unlike the rest of that highway, and Route 16 East to Prince George was the same. Of course, the steady all day rain and grey skies didn’t help matters as far as great scenery goes.

Arrived at a pretty new Walmart Superstore right on the highway at the western edge of Prince George, and since I was pretty much out of everything, provisions wise, I stocked up on essentials, not knowing when i would have the opportunity to do so again. Since it was getting dark, I decided to do a Walmart boondock and settled in for the night.

September 18th

After a decent night’s sleep at Walmart, I proceeded east on Route 16 to Jasper and turned south on the spectacularly beautiful Icefields Parkway to Route 1 and Lake Louise. Unfortunately, the Icefields Parkway, under low hanging clouds, fog, and rain, loses a lot of it’s luster and I managed to travel it’s entire length without stopping for even one photograph. Hoping to get some autumn shots of Lake Louise with fall colors, I settled in at the overflow camping area just south of town on Route 1 for the night, hoping the weather would improve overnight.

September 19th

It didn’t ! With the weather remaining terrible, I left Lake Louise and traveled south on Route 1, through Banff, and on to Calgary, a city I will religiously avoid traveling through in the future. I felt like a rat being forced to run a maze, trying to get from Route 1 to Route 2 in this city’s confusing, poorly signed, heavily congested system of roadways. By the time I finally made it out of Calgary and was headed south on Route 2, after three days, the weather finally cleared and it was an uneventful trip to the border crossing at Carway. I had no problem at all with the crossing, just the normal fruit, veggies and firewood , and booze, questions and I was through and back in the lower forty-eight.

Around 4 PM, I arrived at Johnsons of Saint Marys Campground, on the east side of Galcier National Park, a place I have stayed in many times before. I paid my $78 for two nights and headed up the hill to their fairly tight, fairly unlevel campsites, that do, however, have a superb view across the valley of the mountains of Glacier National Park. These are water and 30 amp electric sites with a surprisingly strong Verizon internet signal.

September 20th Glacier National Park

Stormy Sunrise Over Johnson's Campground

Stormy Sunrise Over Johnson’s Campground

I awoke to a spectacular sunrise and howling winds, indicating that a predicted stormfront was moving in.

Stormy Sunrise Over Johnson's Campground

Stormy Sunrise Over Johnson’s Campground

Taking advantage of the morning’s decent, though very windy weather, I headed up to Many Glacier hoping to get some bear shots, as i have had quite a bit of luck there in the past. This summer’s dry conditions have produced a very poor berry crop and there were no bears to be seen this morning, so I headed back home around noon hoping to watch some football on TV.

Didn’t happen ! I have no idea how strong the winds were blowing, but the motorhome was rocking and the slide toppers were in danger of being ripped off, so I was forced to bring in the slides and lower the satellite dish before it was destroyed by the gale force winds. Welcome back to the lower forty-eight !

September 21st

By morning the winds had diminished and the rain had set in. Having a lot of image processing to do and blog work to catch up on, plus facing an October 15th deadline to file my 2014 taxes, I almost looked forward to a day in the rain to try and get some of this work done.

By late afternoon, tired of working at the computer and finding the skies clearing, I hopped in the Prius and took a drive up Going to the Sun Highway to Logan Pass.

Unreachable

Unreachable

And I am so glad I decided to do so. On previous trips here I have gotten many nice mountain goat images, but have never had the opportunity to find them high up on the cliffs, where they live out a good portion of their lives, safe from predators.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Glacier National Park Mountain Goat

Glacier National Park Mountain Goat

This evening, just as it was getting dark, I came across a lone ram, just about all the way up to Logan Pass, and before it became just too dark to shoot, was able to capture a few images of their incredible cliff hanging abilities.

Leap of Faith

Leap of Faith

Just mind boggling how easily they traverse this impossible landscape … and you can see from the first vertical photo above, that there would be no chance for survival if ever there was a misstep. I certainly hope I get another chance over the next few days to catch this guy up there again, perhaps with a little more light to work with.

 

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Glacier N.P. bighorn sheep

August 10,2013 Glacier National Park

Going to the Sun Road Bighorn Sheep and more

Now that’s more like it!

Entered Glacier NationalPark east entrance just before 7 AM in hopes of avoiding yesterday’s crowds. Had the road all but to myself on the way up, Logan Pass parking lot had only 20 or 30 cars in it and just a small number of people milling about, quite a bit different from yesterday afternoon. That’s it, from now on, before 7AM or after 7 PM only ( just have to remember to get out by 9 PM or the road closes to the east entrance, construction ).

Weather turned out nice also and with the lack of people, the wildlife was out and about.

Sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses

Sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses

Sentry asleep at his post

Sentry asleep at his post

 

 

Got some cute shots of the numerous ground squirrels around the Visitor Center.

 

 

Dueling ground squirrels

Dueling ground squirrels

Had hoped to get dramatic shots of head butting dueling bighorn sheep, but sometimes in life you have to just settle, so how about some dueling ground squirrels?

Logan Pass marmot

Logan Pass marmot

 

 

 

A hoary marmot also was out gathering breakfast greens.

 

 

 

 

Mountain goat and wildflowers

Mountain goat and wildflowers

Since this mountain goat was looking rather haggard, and that is being kind, I decided to go for the wildflower shot instead of a closeup.

And Then I ran into a little bachelor group of four bighorn sheep on the way back down Going to the Sun Road.

Caught with my mouth full

Caught with my mouth full

 

Another Glacier N.P. bighorn sheep

Another Glacier N.P. bighorn sheep

Glacier N.P. bighorn sheep

Glacier N.P. bighorn sheep

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting back to yesterday’s rant, the bighorns are obviously used to people and cars, for they browsed for quite a while by the side of the road and the edge of the parking lot, providing great photo opportunities for myself and several other early risers, and then, the first jackass on a Harley shows up and blasts them off down the slope. Five or six people snapping photos, no problem, a dozen cars stop and go, still ok, one jerk on an illegal noise machine and off they go.

The rangers can stop people for speeding, as they should, and set up check points for DUI, which they should, so how about getting these illegal, eardrum shattering, wildlife spooking, inconsiderate, immature jerks off the park roads so everyone else can have a little better experience.

Got back to camp by 10 AM and worked on the journal and processed photos all the rest of the day and into late at night. Didn’t bother to go back out in the afternoon since a series of rain squalls mixed with hail kept sweeping through all afternoon and into the evening.

Logan Pass wildflower

Logan Pass wildflower

Caught with my mouth full

Caught with my mouth full

Glacier N.P. bighorn sheep

Glacier N.P. bighorn sheep

 

Glacier N.P. bighorn sheep posing for portrait

Glacier N.P. bighorn sheep posing for portrait

 

Bighorn munching

Bighorn munching

 

Bighorn heading down to a stream

Bighorn heading down to a stream

 

A pair of bighorn rams

A pair of bighorn rams