Sunday, June 22, 2008

Goats of Mt. Ellinor

The weather forecast did not look greatest for the weekend. We had Mt. Ellinor planned with a back up of staying along I-90 if we determine the visibility is bad enough and the long drive would not be rewarded with the gorgeous views this area has to offer. As the week progressed the forecast slowly changed to our advantage and we were excited to stick with our original plan and headed to Ellinor.

Even though it never completely clear, the clouds were high letting us enjoy variety of views from different points along the trail. It was my first time up there and despite the fact I’ve seen many pictures, being surrounded by this amazing scenery in person was truly breathtaking.

We decided to take a little break after we conquered the first part of the chute and while scanning the area I noticed this white spot on the rock wall behind us. Mountain Goat! And it had a baby… our short break suddenly turned into about 15 minute photo shoot of those two goats. It was so cool, we thought, and continued our way towards the summit. As soon as we reached the second false summit, there were another two goats (again it was mommy goat and her baby) walking down the trail in our directions. They were way closer that the goats we saw earlier and were not bothered by our presence at all. It was very obvious they will walk just past us… so we got our cameras ready, and snapped tons more pictures. At one point the goats were as close as about 5 feet from us, and even posed for us on rocks close by.

So cool, we though again and now with the true summit in our sight we braved the last part of the trail… just to notice more goats peeking at us from the top. There was a nice family of about 4 of them there, running around, kind of checking us up together with several chipmunks that entertained us by crawling up people’s legs and jumping on people’s shoulders in their attempts to steal our food.

The views were wonderful. We did not see Rainier or the other major peaks very clearly as they were hiding in a mist but there was so much more to look at and with all the wildlife around, we spend good 2 hours up there before we decided it was time to have some fun glissading down the chute.

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