Rocky Mountain Goats at 14,000 feet in central Colorado:
I’d like to claim that the mountain goat encounter was the culmination of a heroic, back-country mountain climb to capture shots of a rare and dangerous isolated species. But these mountain goats were almost as docile as cows, and (as the last photo in the grid above shows) they’d pretty much taken over the un-manned park area at the top of Mount Evans. So none of these pictures were taken more than 40 yards from the car (which was on a paved road). Mt. Evans Road is the highest paved road in North America — 14,130 feet, which is eerily high up and desolate.
A few days back, I arrived in Frisco, Colorado hauling five bicycles, about six pair of running/hiking shoes, six cameras, ten or so non-fiction books, and a photo printer that weighs about fifty pounds. I’ve already had five visitors from Oklahoma and Texas, already done about 30,000 feet of climbing (on bike and on foot), and already been nose to nose with a momma mountain goat.
The pretty sunset shots below were near Buena Vista, about an hour south of here. You’ll recognize the happy couple pictured at the top of Mt. Evans as my Mom and Dad, who drove up from Oklahoma to hang out with me for a while. Most of the other shots are of me or my biking crew (more on them as the summer progresses). That’s Mike Short on the dirt bike path (east of Breckenridge) and Shane Merz on the paved path near the top of Vail Pass. That’s me hiking at the top of Mt. Royal (overlooking Lake Dillon), me on a mountain bike in the woods near Frisco, and me at the top of Loveland Pass on my road bike. It’s already been a great trip and there’s plenty more to come.
(Photo credit for the picture of me mountain biking through the woods goes to Mike Short, who was far enough ahead of me to stop, dismount, dig his camera out of his backpack, and get into position for a fun picture before I finally rode by. Photo credit for the Loveland Pass shot goes to some stranger who insisted I was crazy for biking to the top (for the second time that day) and offered to take my picture).