High Altitude Staring Contest

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Guest blogger – my wife.

Meet Fabio’s friends. These mountain goats made an excellent addition to hiking my first 14er (a mountain above 14,000′ in elevation). Quandary Peak is located near Breckinridge, Colorado and features rocky terrain, open meadows, and a beautiful view of the surrounding Rocky Mountains (plus some pretty cool goats).

Quandary is a popular 14er because of the mountain goats who frequent the trails. All morning, as we climbed the steep terrain, we kept an eye out for them. Near tree line (where the trees stop growing due to elevation) we started to notice some of the trees and bushes covered in clumps of white wool and knew that goats had to be close. Apparently they were shedding their winter coats by rubbing up against the branches. When we caught our first sight of them, they were tiny little dots in the distance. As we got closer, it was obvious that they were very used to the daily traffic of humans visiting their mountain.

What I found most surprising was how long the mountain goats stuck around. At times, the goats were not but two feet away and walked right along the well-worn path we were supposed to be taking. The view from a 14er is incredible, but add in these beautiful animals on the cliff’s edge and you’ve got something really special. I think we spent about an hour taking photos as the baby and adult goats posed right on the edge. Even after continuing on to the summit, having lunch, and heading back down the trail, we found this family of goats lingering in the same area. While I can’t say that this fourteener was a fast one for me, it was well worth the trip and perhaps my favorite so far.

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