Conversations with…

DSC_5355a mountain goat.

He did not speak.  There was no need.  His presence was enough.  His gaze spoke wonders.  He probably thought that I was nuts, but he did not move.  He sat there contently and listened to me speak.  I remember not what I said, just that for and hour I had a conversation with a mountain goat.
DSC_5303bwThat isn’t really lyrical. It’s actually true.  It was an early, early morning on my last in South Dakota.  I hadn’t hiked my favorite trail yet.  That of Little Devil’s Tower.  I also had not seen a mountain goat yet.  By this morning, I had about given up on seeing these bigfoots of the Blackhills and I had hiked so much by that day-I was a little hiked out. Still, I couldn’t fight this overwhelming “need” to make the hike.  So, I made the drive to Needles Highway and through the Needles and made my way to Little Devil’s Tower.

As I got out of the car, I made the executive decision to leave my camera behind.  My camera had practically been glued to my hand the entire trip…I wanted to be in the moment.  As a self-proclaimed photographer, I should no better than to leave my camera in the car. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

Little Devil’s Tower trail is not really for the weak hearted.  It’s about 1.2-1.5 mile but it is up hill and considered strenuous.  I don’t know if I would call it strenuous, but it is definitely a little challenging; especially, at 530 in the morning when you have spent your entire vacation walking trails that are miles and miles long and exposed to the elements.  I was in my element, but man that trail makes me work for it.

I was about a mile in, I think…almost to the top where all the trails meet (there is more than one way to get to the top).  I was tired, my joints were getting the best of me, pretty sure I was sweating even though it was not at all hot and then I see it.  I glanced to my right down, past the Cathedral’s trail and there he was sitting upon a rock with many of rocks between him and I.  DSC_5340Bigfoot.  No, I kid, but these guys-it is about like seeing Bigfoot.

I climbed, I maneuvered, and my way over to him as close as I could get.  I was on one rocky hill and he was a couple feet away from me on another.  I sat and looked at him. He sat and stared at me.

I had a sense of peace, which I know sounds funny-but I was at ease.  We had in silence for a bit and then I talked a little bit.  Ate some snacks.  Talked some more. Sat in more silence.  At that point, I started to realize that I really wish I had brought more than my cell phone.  I debated about going back to my car for the camera, but it was a long-long way back to the car.

If I went, would I even have the energy to make it back up?  Would he even be there?  I had to take a chance. I mean, did I really want to miss this opportunity.  The cell phone pictures I had decided to snap were just not going to do him any justice.  I climbed, I maneuvered, and I worked my way back to the path and ran all the way back down.  That 9 weeks of working out six days a week really paid off that day.  I made it back to my car and grabbed my camera.  As I headed back to the trail, I looked up-man, it was a long-long way back up that trail.  Off I went.

DSC_5338To my surprise, there he sat when I returned.  The sun was a little higher, but he was still there.  Staring at me contently once again.  And once again, I made my way over to my spot.  We talked some more, he allowed me to take some pictures, and after many of minutes passed, I decided to leave him be.  I said my thank yous and my goodbyes. I then make the wonderful maneuvering and climbing back to the trail.  I was not far from the top, but I debated about just heading back down.

I stared at him a few more minutes and looked up to the tower.  Mountain goat, tower, down the trail.  Finally, I decided that I put too much work into it just to go back to the car. I made my way up to the tower.  After more climbing and maneuvering, I reached my destination.  It was well worth the site.  That picture will come at a later time, but I also discovered that my buddy the mountain goat was not alone up there on those rocky inclines.
DSC_5376There was a fourth closer to my buddy, but I couldn’t get a good shot.  That is okay, because I think the ones that I did get made up for it.   They definitely made up for me going up and down that trail twice.  As did my conversations with a mountain goat.

Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography



3 thoughts on “Conversations with…

  1. Well, that’s commitment, hitting the same trail twice on the same morning! Worth it though – the photographs are great! And yeah, camera or no camera? You just know when you decide to leave it, you’ll wish you had it…
    Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. And I could definitely be president of the “Why do I never have my camera on me when I need it” club. You’d think that I really would know better by now. I got my exercise and it was completely wort it. Have a great weekend!


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