Yesterday someone saw a mountain goat with a black head and a bushy tail! The day before another visitor saw a large animal on the moraine of the Nisqually Glacier. "It must have been a mountain sheep". Last week Ranger-Naturalist Bob Johnson walked four miles in order to be shown where a wild cat was seen earlier in the day in its den. On two different occasions Rangers have investigated cougar stories brought in by climbers. On one occasion the huge beast was seen crouching on a rock ledge ready to leap upon his observers. Fortunately they saw him in time and escaped. That meant a five mile clim for the Rangers. on the other occasion a cougar was seen walking across the ice fields near McClures Rock. On top of that two wolves and numerous coyotes have been reported.
In every case the animal seen proved to be a marmot. These are not the only people that have been fooled by him.
In the summer of 1850 Lieutenant Kautz, with a small party from Nisqually House, the fort and Hudson Bay Post on Puget Sound, camped in Van Trump Park preparatory to making the first attempted ascent of the mountain.
During the evening the attention of the party was attracted by a shrill metalic whistle. At first they thought it was from a human source, although no one was known to be within fifty miles of them. Close observation however revealed a heavy bodied animal with a bushy tail standing on his haunches at the opening to a burrow in the ground.
When the Lieutenant investigated he found numerous tracks all about the hillside that had been made by some hoofed animal, but as the whistler dissapeared at near approach he was not able to get a look at its feet.
However when Kautz wrote the account of his expedition for "The Washington Republican" he described a strange animal, the size of a lamb which grazed and made tracks like a lamb, but had a bushy tail, whistled, and lived in a burrow in the ground. He had never seen a mountain sheep, but he had heard of them. "this strange animal was a young mount sheep". Kautz said it was.
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