By: Dwayne Parton

Mountain Goats on Sacajawea Peak

It’s 3:00pm. I’m sore from sitting and staring at the computer. I’ve made some progress today, and I think it’s time for some time outside. I search “Hikes Near Bozeman” I’ve explored Hyalite Canyon pretty good. At least as much as I’d like with only day hikes. Hyalite is breathtaking, but there are some more mountains nearby that I’d like to explore.

Sacajawea Peak has a 5 star rating, but the picture of the mountain goats is what really ices the cake for me. I haven’t seen many animals lately, and it would be cool to see some mountain goats.


It’s one of those hikes that just get better and better. I find myself stopping over and over to take photos. I force myself to put my camera away so I can make it to the top before daylight ends. It’s only 1.7 miles or so but I’m lingering a lot more than normal.


The ridge running south of the peak is like a giant spine. Rugged and explosive. I keep saying, “Dang!” mouth open and eyes wide. It’s better than I could have ever expected. I would do this hike again and again.

I climb the switch backs to the top and find a single solitary goat waiting for me. I’ve never been around goats. I imagine him getting ready to charge and butting me down the mountain just like the cartoons. “Hello…” I say and walk around behind him snapping as many photos as I can.


The trick is to get the spine in the background. I keep releasing the shutter hoping I’ll frame one well. I’m prone to over think, so I rely on luck and quantity.

He meanders down from the summit to a small grassy slope just below. It’s cold and all of a sudden the clouds start swallowing the mountains. I am being wrapped in their cold misty blanket and have never seen anything so marvelous. The clouds crawl up the valleys and wrap the mountains and I’m sitting at the closing of the wrap.


I try to capture the splendor but I have no idea how to tell their story. After many attempts I notice 3 white ghosts walking up the mountain. I never expected this. Maybe that’s what makes this trip so special. The not expecting. Not knowing what or who you’ll see or meet, and then being awed when something special happens.


I’m still sitting. Snapping as many photos as I can. The goats walk around, nurse, play, and don’t care that I’m here. It’s nice, and since this is my first time being around them, it’s special.