In the dark and cold as I start the long climb through the cliffs and snow a thought flashes across my mind. I wonder whatever became of the mountain goat with the gnarled horn, draped across her left eye with the black dagger tip pressed against her check. I have looked for her each winter but have not found her for four years now. I imagine she has died.
I spy fresh cougar tracks in the snow and follow them up the ridge. Thoughts of the goat fade like frost in the morning sun. I reach a high peak and spot a goat standing there, staring at me. Then I see the gnarled horn draped across her face. I sit on a rock to wait for the sun to crest the towering peaks to the east. She lays down in the snow. We watch each other.
When the sun finally rises I start slowly toward my favorite mountain goat. She gets up and moves toward me. We stop 50 feet apart. I take photos for an hour and she moves down icy snow covered cliffs and disappears into the void. Sometimes the magic happens.
Lone Peak Wilderness Area, Utah, USA.
Canon EOS 50D, 500 f/4 w/1.4tc, 1/100, f/16, ISO 100, Tripod, Raw.
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