winter coat

location: strawberry mtn. basin

season: late fall

this scene presented itself during a thanksgiving day hike to strawberry mountain. early and deep snow fell in november making a beautiful snowscape of golden needle tamaracks around a frozen lake.

just as i was finishing the lasts shots of this winter scene, a movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention.  about 20 yards away this mountain goat was casually walking straight up a steep, ice over scree slope.

i've written elsewhere about being a landscape photographer and sometimes wildlife walks into the shot. here's the proof.

mountain goats are amazing creatures, surviving above the tree line (8000'), preferring scree filled drainages, boulders and craggy ridgelines, the rockier the better. their haunches are massive and hooves small enough to balance gracefully in areas few animals venture, including humans.

snow falls early this high up, gets deep (10-16') and lasts late.  temperatures are often below zero and consistent hard winds can drive wind chill into bitterly cold range.  these goats are adept survivors and well equipped to deal with it. this photo shows their natural insulation that allows them to thrive in this environment.

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