Mar
17

Mountain Goats – Finally! by Mike

I’ve been waiting five weeks to say this…

Today I got some great Mountain Goat shots at Goat Lick!

Goat Lick Overlook is about two and half miles east of the Walton Ranger Station on U.S. Highway 2.  It is an exposed riverbank where mountain goats and other animals come to lick the mineral laden cliffs.

Goats can often be seen from the overlook so it was one of the first places I came when I got to the Park.  I’ve now visited Goat Lick about a dozen times on this trip but have never timed it right to see goats.  I had a feeling that my luck might change today and it did.

I started shooting on the east side of the Park this morning but it started snowing right away.  It looked clearer to the west so I loaded up the gear and headed for West Glacier.

I followed the Middle Fork of the Flathead looking for animals but didn’t have any luck.  I decided to shoot some timelapse about 10 miles east of West Glacier on Highway 2.  The clouds were very interesting and provided an unusual backdrop behind the mountains looking back into the Park.

The timelapse was going well but I suddenly felt like I needed to get back over to Goat Lick.  I know it sounds crazy but Goat Lick was calling.  I packed up the gear and headed that way.

As I approached the overlook I knew my intuition had been right.  There were a couple of people pointing and staring toward the cliffs.

I set up the camera and put on the 400mm lens.  At that point the goats only filled up about one quarter of the screen.  I filmed for a while and then realized I needed to change batteries.  The goats hadn’t moved so I figured it would be a good time to make the switch.

Of course the moment I shut down the camera the goats began moving toward us.  I quickly swapped batteries and turned the camera back on.  I love the Red but the boot up time can be agonizing when shooting wildlife.  Fortunately the camera came to life and the goat stopped at the perfect place for the 400mm.

The shots turned out great.  I’ve sent Matt some frame grabs so check out the Glacier Wallpaper page in a couple of days.