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Mountain Goat

Mother’s Day means not letting Mom see the faces you make at her choice of meal

Well, technically not a meal. These Mountain Goats lick the rocks to get the minerals from them but… It will be a few more weeks before the snow is cleared and I can visit Mount Evans, Colorado, where I took this picture last year. With any luck, there will be a new generation of these little guys to enjoy watching and photographing.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, wildlife or domesticated. 😉

A Mountain Goat nanny and her kid on Mount Evans in Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Mountain Goat nanny and her kid on Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Mountain Goat takes a break on the alpine tundra

I don’t know why but spring fever has hit me hard this week. I can’t stop thinking about warmer weather and the creatures I see during the spring and summer.

The thing is, at least as far as this image goes, when I took this picture at the start of September it was no warmer than it is right now (33 degrees). Key difference is of course that the image was taken at nearly 14,000 feet near the top of Mount Evans where it always seems to be cold. 😉

I do look forward to returning there though and spending some time with the Mountain Goats. They are beautiful and just a ton of fun.

A Mountain Goat relaxes on the alpine tundra on Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Mountain Goat relaxes on the alpine tundra on Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Mountain Goat kid kids around with the photographer

Oh, this little one. It was quite the entertainer for me back on the first of July at the top of Mount Evans. It and its mom and come to the top and I was doing my best to get some pictures of the kid. It however almost purposely seemed to evade my every move to get a clear shot.

Just as I would get in position, it would move itself around the side of a big boulder out of view. This went on for a while with me getting more and more annoyed. At one point when it was out of view, it stuck its head up above a boulder and I swear, it truly, purposely stuck its tongue out at me! Sigh. Some people’s kids! 😉

A shy Mountain Goat kid sticks its tongue out at the photographer.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A shy Mountain Goat kid sticks its tongue out at the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

Big rocks make a good bed for a Mountain Goat

When you’re at an altitude of 14,000 feet or so, it can be quite chilly. The rising sun provides much-needed relief and can feel so good and be so relaxing. This beautiful Mountain Goat seemed to be enjoying soaking in the warmth and couldn’t hardly keep its eyes open as it lounged on a monster boulder near the top of Mount Evans, Colorado. As cold as it was on this morning in June, it is undoubtedly far less pleasant up there as winter starts to gear up in earnest. Of course, these alpine residents are well suited to the conditions. Me? Not so much. 😉

A Mount Goat falls asleep while resting on top Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Mount Goat falls asleep while resting on top Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Mount Goat falls asleep while resting on top Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Mount Goat falls asleep while resting on top Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

“Come on! Let’s play!”

It was a lazy early fall day on the mountain for the Mountain Goat kids, well, at least for some of them. While most were quite content to just relax on the alpine tundra, one was feeling rambunctious and went around prodding the other kids to play. It never did work but it was cute watching it try to get the others moving. Here it went up and nosed another young one.

The terrain where this picture was taken undoubtedly looks much different now, two months later. Mount Evans is covered in snow and its summit is closed for the next seven months. I’ll be anxiously awaiting my chance to visit with this high altitude residents again.

Mount Goat kids play above timberline in the Colorado high country. (© Tony’s Takes)

Mount Goat kids play above timberline in the Colorado high country. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red, white and blue

The colors of our nation’s flag represented in the landscape, the wildlife and the sky. 😉

Hearkening back to early September, just days before the road to access these cool creatures closed for the season. The Mountain Goat herd was late arriving at their usual spot and I had just about given up. As I head down from the summit to look elsewhere I found them and as always, thoroughly enjoyed my time. This nanny seemed anxious to get the rest moving to higher altitudes, climbing a bit, then stopping and making sure they were following, then climbing so more and checking yet again.

Mountain Goats are actually not native to Colorado, having been brought here in the early 20th century as a tourist attraction. Unfortunately, they can carry diseases which are deadly to our state’s official animal, the Big Horn Sheep. When the goats roam into sheep territory, they are often killed to prevent them from infecting the sheep.

A Mountain Goat nanny stands tall on the wide of Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Mountain Goat nanny stands tall on the wide of Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Little kid stands guard for Mountain Goat Monday

These guys are so darned cute and entertaining. This particular kid was pretty interested in the group of photographers that had gathered to capture images of it and the rest of the herd near the top of Mount Evans, Colorado.

While the other kids pretty much ignored us, this one took a keen interest and spent much of the time from a perch above observing us. No doubt it found the scrambling creatures on two legs just as entertaining as we found it.

With the road to their domain now closed for the season, the next time I see this little one it will be much larger and probably not quite as cute. There should however be a new crop of little ones to take its place in my viewfinder.

A Mountain Goat kid keeps watch on the photographer below. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Mountain Goat kid keeps watch on the photographer below. (© Tony’s Takes)

Mountain Goat daycare

Perhaps, at least for this image, it is highly appropriate that female Mountain Goats are called ‘nannies.’ This pretty lady was providing a bit of high country babysitting this past weekend keeping watch over three kids while the other adults grazed. Thankfully for her, they were all pretty well behaved and quite content to lounge around enjoying the chilly weather.

When I was choosing my photo destinations for this past weekend, there was one that was at the top of the list – Mount Evans. The road to the top is the highest paved road in North America and due to the extreme weather it sees at over 14,000 feet in altitude, it is only open from around Memorial Day to Labor Day. With the seasonal closing only two days away, I knew this is where I needed to go as I wanted to have one more chance to spend with these cool creatures.

Arriving at the top at sunrise I was dismayed that the herd was not there and nowhere to be seen. I waited for over an hour with no luck, finally decided to head down a ways to see if perhaps they were at a lower spot and indeed they were, hanging out a few hundred feet below the road’s summit.

A Mountain Goat nanny seems to be babysitting three kids on the alpine tundra near the top of Mount Evans. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Mountain Goat nanny seems to be babysitting three kids on the alpine tundra near the top of Mount Evans. (© Tony’s Takes)

Mountain Goat profile in the early morning sun

Taking in a sunrise while standing at an altitude of over 14,000 feet, is an experience that is hard to describe. It is breathtaking, calming and therapeutic in many ways. I suppose in some ways it is like what astronauts experience from their perch far above the Earth.

Certainly, I don’t expect this high-altitude resident to quite feel the same way but I can’t help but think that maybe they do appreciate that view and in particular the warmth of the sun as it rises and spreads across the landscape. This nanny seemed to revel in it, stopping grazing and looking eastward, soaking in the sun’s rays and the view below for quite a while.

That early morning sun really lit up her fur and those eyes, goodness, they were radiant and showed extraordinary depth with that light.

A Mountain Goat nanny looks toward the sun soon after it rose above the horizon on the top of Mount Evans in Colorado.   (© Tony’s Takes)

A Mountain Goat nanny looks toward the sun soon after it rose above the horizon on the top of Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Mountain Goat soaks in the early morning sun

Even in the summer it is quite chilly at 14,000+ feet in altitude. In fact, it was 34 degrees when this image was snapped about an hour after sunrise. Of course these high country residents are quite able to handle the cold although even they seem to welcome the warmth of the sun’s rays.

Mountain Goats are actually not native to Colorado, having been brought here in the early 20th century as a tourist attraction. Unfortunately, they can carry diseases which are deadly to our state’s official animal, the Big Horn Sheep. When the goats roam into sheep territory, they are often killed to prevent them from infecting the sheep.

A Mountain Goat closes its eyes and enjoys the warmth of the early morning sun on Mount Evans in Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Mountain Goat closes its eyes and enjoys the warmth of the early morning sun on Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)