Both at Longmire Springs and at Paradise Valley you will find a Naturalist and a small museum. Use these as card indexes to the great natural museum which is the Park itself. If you are interested in knowing the wild flowers you will find at both places exhibits containing all the common and scientific names and the Naturalist or ranger in charge will be glad to tell you more about the habits and characteristics of the plants themselves and where the best fields of each may be found.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings in the Public Camp at Longmire and on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings in the Guide House at Paradise Valley illustrated talks are given on the natural features of the Park and in addition on regular scheldule of Nature Guide Field Trips is offered at both places for those desiring a more intimate acquaintance with the wild things of the region. Enquire of the Naturalist concerning this free service.
This is the only American representative of the numerous species of wild goat found throughout the old world.
The white goat has been so much sought by sportsmen and others who like difficulty hunting that now it is found only in Washington, Idaho and Northwestern Montana. Northward of our boundaries it is found in British Columbia and Alaska. The white goat is quite common in the Park but swing to the fact that it inhabits the grassy belt of the mountain above timber line, it particularly loves the dangerous ice-covered slopes and inaccessible little-visited places, and for this reason is not often seen by the casual tourist.
A large band of these goat inhabit the upper portion of Van Trump Park and Wappety Cleaver and range eastward to Cushman Crest.
Last summer the writer saw seventeen in one band crossing the Van Trump glacier. The band is said to number about twenty-five. This region is easily reached by trail up from Christine Falls and through beautiful Van Trump Park and is a one day trip. Goat bands are frequently seen as they cross the cliffs just beyond the Nisqually glacier by parties on the Skyline or Glacier Vista Trails.
The white goat is odd in both appearance and habit. His enemies are below him and if you can get above him he seems quite helpless and unafraid. In 1922 the writer while on top of Unicorn peak in the Tatoosh range had one of them approach to within one hundred feet and stay for about half an hour trying to satisfy his curiosity. They climb up the steepest slopes and the most expert and daring of all American hoofed animals in rock climbing.
The hoofs are small, very compact and consist of an ingenuous combination of rubber pad inside and knife-edge outside, to hold the owner equally well on snow, ice or bare rock. They will climb steep faces of bare rock that are devoid of ledges and shelves without apparent effort and with perfect composure.
It has been estimated that there are bands of these goat in the Park totaling between two and three hundred individuals. As they have few enemies they are able to hold their own very well.
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