Thursday 2 July 2015

A Mountain Goat Path

    I went on my first alpine hike of the year on Sunday along with Taylor, a new resident of the area.  It was up on McBride Peak.   As we got up to the “summit” we had to decide which direction to head off in.  There was a sharp looking peak off to the left and decided to head for it.  From the distance we could see a bit of a path in that direction so off we went.   Along the path we found some fuzzy bits which at first I thought was fluffy seeds, but there were some hairs in it so we figured it must be mountain goat.   As we followed the path it was confirmed as we spotted tracks.
    I know that goats are amazing climbers, but I was amazed at where the tracks led.  We got into situations, where I didn’t now how to transverse rocky outcrops and scary troughs.  The photo below shows Taylor straddling a sharp rocky ridge (that was the only way I could see to safely get across it because it dropped off steeply on both sides.)   Once we passed the obstacles we saw the goat tracks again, so they must have gotten through the rough bits too.
    After we sat on a high ridge and ate lunch over looking mountains and alpine meadows in all directions, it was time to head back.  After considering other routes (they all seemed a bit treacherous to me) we headed back the way we came. 
    It was all a bit more rock maneuvering than I was used to and I feared going down some of the places we had come, would be more scary and difficult than climbing up, but we made it back without any problems except I hit my knee on a pointed rock.  The problems for me came that night and the next day when my leg muscles let me know what they thought of our excursion.   
    While it was hot and mosquito-infested down at the bottom of the valley, up in the alpine it was wonderfully cool, breezy, and refreshing.  I can’t wait for the next opportunity I get to go up there.

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