The Story Behind the Photo: The One-Horned Mountain Goat

I was hiking with my wife (girlfriend at the time) on the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park.  It was our first day in the park, so I wanted to take Ashley on a short easy trail that I had previously hiked.  I followed the trail to the Granite Park Chalet and back my first time in Glacier, which was 15.2 miles total.  This time we just went through the Garden Wall section of the hike for a mile or so and started back.

We got back across the steep ledge section above Going-to-the-Sun Road and were halfway through the meadow near the trailhead when we had a startling encounter. We were walking and talking, not paying close attention to our surroundings, as we moved between some pine trees.  Then, all of a sudden we heard a noise right next to us.  When I detect a sudden movement in bear country I immediately fear the worst.  That’s what went through my mind in the split second before we realized what it was.  However, what shocked us on our hike was not a grizzly, but instead a big, goofy looking mountain goat.

We let out a collective sigh of relief and shared a nervous chuckle.  Then we took a closer look at the mountain goat that stood a mere five feet away, calmly grazing between some trees.  It was pure white, but the poor thing only had one horn.  And the only horn it did have was hanging by a thread.  It didn’t appear to be in pain.  Mountain goats don’t shed their horns, so I don’t know what could have happened.

We took some pictures of the friendly one-horned goat before continuing on toward the trailhead.  Just before we got back to the parking lot we ran into a family of hikers.  We asked if they had seen the mountain goat, and they hadn’t so we told them that it was only a short distance away.  They thanked us for the information and had some of their own.  They said there was a deer with a full rack of antlers wandering around behind the Logan Pass Visitor Center.  So, that settled it.  We set off in opposite directions to view some more wildlife.


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