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



Meeting of the Bucks

DSC_0364A pile of out-state-plates lined both sides of the busy road.  I knew there was something to see.  I do not tend to follow the masses, but when there is wildlife at stake….well, I tend to at least see how close to the edge the crowd is standing. 

There started out only being a few pairs of horns.  Standing on a hill and minding their own.  Just grazing away. 
DSC_0294I’m still not sure what I think of elk.  They’re an interesting set of creatures.  I’ve just never really given them much thought.  I believe I said in another post, I guess I just never really thought I’d ever see anything of the sort.  Taking spontaneous trips has its perks. 

As these three stood there, their demeanor changed and eventually the started heading down the field at a rapid pace.  About the same time a baby antelope walked onto the field.  He is not pictured and he may have been deer.  I was looking at pictures and it appears that baby antelopes look a bit like baby deer.  He was just as fast as either.  Antelope had graced most of my remaining drive through those Wyoming back roads.  Fast little devils they are.  Anyway….as the three  boys made their way down the hill.  A mass compilation of horns came out of the woods.  (The pictures are a bit misleading, but I assure you that the majority of them had horns. Some much bigger than others).

DSC_0336  DSC_0344I am not sure if it was some territorial dispute.  Boys being boys or what was going on, but two of the biggest horns from both sides locked horns a couple of times. Unfortunately, those pictures didn’t come out as well.  The only thing that is worse than my ability to manual focus under stress is my ability to see well enough to manual focus when it starts getting dark.  Consequences of sitting to close to the TV or getting old….whichever. 

I did get some shots worth sharing. I hope you think so too.  Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography