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Lake Ingalls Part II: Jeff the Mountain Goat

The Lake Ingalls hike in the Snoqualmie Forest is not only known for its breathtaking vistas of Mt Stuart. It also has the reputation to be teeming with mountain goats. I had my fingers crossed that I would see some–for my first time–out in the wild at 6,500 feet.

On the journey up we crossed paths with some backpackers who had just finished their third night up near the lake. Since it was my first time up there, I got to talking with them about their experience. At the end, I asked if they’d seen any mountain goats, since I was so eager to. When they said no, my heart sank in disappointment. My hopes lowered and I refocused on the landscape aspect of the journey.

As I climbed the final rocky path to reach the lake, a group of hikers saw me with my gear and were excited to tell me that just ahead there was a mountain goat. Sure enough, after about 30 more paces, the mountain goat appeared. I approached cautiously, as you always should, and came within a few paces before kneeling down and watching him pick the needles. bark., and lichen from a sapling. I snapped “a few” shots of him doing his thing before continuing to the basin where my friend Lindsay was relaxing by the lake. I was compelled to ask her if she’d met “Jeff,” the mountain goat. For my own entertainment, I had given this young goat a very normal, human name. But Jeff also represents one of the most exciting learning opportunities I have had to build my wildlife photography skill. And beyond that, he is the living connection I have to one of the most beautiful places I have experienced.

For more awesome pics of mountain goats, check out my buddy Spencer’s photos. Some of these will blow your mind.

Nikon D800, AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VRII, AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED

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