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King of the Mountain
The magazine I am submitting wildlife photographs to likes to publish little stories to go along with some of their images. They want the photographer to descibe the circumstances that led them to the capture. I wrote a story describing my trip to Mt. Evans in which I took this photo of a Mountain Goat. I decided as long as I had it written I would go ahead and share it with you.
King of the Mountain
I have followed the winding road to the top of Mt. Evans near Idaho Springs, CO many times. It is the highest paved road in North America and as you drive and drive and drive up the scenic byway, past the tree line, and continue by Summit Lake several more miles to the parking lot at the very top you get a sense of just how high 14,130 feet above sea level really is. At that elevation there is snow nearly year round and the wind blows icy cold even in July.
Simply walking is a struggle for many of the tourists that make the arduous journey to the top. They pant for air, desperately seeking oxygen in an environment that has none to offer. The locals are more used to the elevation though it is extreme even for those who live near the Rocky Mountains. However, it does not stop those who love a challenge. Red faced road bikers desperately guzzling water litter the parking lot, having triumphantly made summited the mountain. They will have bragging rights for years to come.
And observing it all is the only creature who seems unfazed by the conditions. His silent laughter echoes through the hills. Silly humans, he seems to say, watch me. And with hooves that can only be described as dancing over the rocks the Mountain Goat begins to climb. Effortlessly he scales the side of the mountain finding crevices and clefts in the rock invisible to all but the cloves of his hooves.
Watching, it is impossible to deny the grace and beauty in even the smallest among them. The females jealously guard the young as they alternate between languid grazing and frantic playing on the side of a small grassy slope. It is the male that watches us watching them from his perch atop the mountain. He wears an almost perpetual smile, secure in his position as king of the mountain.
I am happy to be one of his subjects and have him as one of mine as I raise the camera and press the shutter.
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