Nature Notes

Vol. VI July 29th, 1928 Summer Season No. 3


Nothing brings more instant interest to the naturalist's office than the news that there are goat in sight.

A few years ago goat were often seen above Cushman Crest alongside the Wilson and Nisqually Glaciers but during the past two seasons few have been noted.

On July 23rd a party returning from the summit reported a band of 12 goat beyond the Nisqually. Several were in sight from the office and an expedition was soon under way for a closer view.

Arriving breathless at the summit of Alta Vista, we combed the snowfields and rocks between six and eight thousand feet elevation with eyes and glasses for a half hour without seeing a goat although there were many tracks to be seen in the snow. Just before giving up the naturalist suddenly saw a young goat dash around a point of rock closely persued by an old nanny. The youngster took to the rock cliff but the nanny remained on the snow below. Presently she was followed by two, this season's kids, evidently her twins. The first goat, probably a last year's kid loath to part company with his mother, remained at bat on the rock while the mother allowed the kids to nurse and to romp around her on the snow. The four were noted at about 8,000 feet elevation.

Two hours later the same family group were still to be seen through the telescope at Paradise Inn, lying on the snow. The distance was two and a half miles, but too far for the naked eye.

According to Mr. Harold Bonebreak, our informant, the band had crossed the cliffs above the Nisqually at about 9 A.M. climbing from timberline to the snowfields above 7,000 feet. By noon the main band was out of sight behind the rocks or in some depression of the snow resting away from the troublesome insects of lower elevations and keeping cool on the snow. The family group noted had apparently left the main band to follow their own inclinations.

More recently, July 26th and 27th, a group of climbers followed the high-line from Sunset Park to Paradise Valley, a route which brought them across the Puyallup, Tahoma, Kautz and Nisqually Glaciers at elevations ranging from six to nine thousand feet elevation. During the two days four bands of goat totalling thirty six individuals were seen. These included the band of twelve before noted above Cushman Crest. Of these thirty-six goat, thirteen were this-year's kids, an encouraging bit of information to us who are much interested in this strange animal.

By Floyd W. Schmoe, Park Naturalist.

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