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On my way back from Waterton International Peace Park a few weeks ago (it’s only about 3 ½ hours or so from Kalispell or Whitefish), I was reveling in my good fortune for wildlife spotted that week, when I realized I was almost to the Goat Lick. The Goat Lick is a cut bank area on the Flathead River along Highway 2, with cliffs that the mountain goats like to lick to gain their needed minerals. I’ve lived in Montana since 2007, and visited the site several times, with no luck sighting any goats. Since I’d been away all week and was anxious to be home, I decided to skip the stop at the Goat Lick Overlook.
Well, that decision didn’t last long, as a few feet beyond passing the entrance, a gaggle of adults and children darted across the highway to the opposite side of the bridge, cameras in hand. Dang, I HAD to stop when there was certain evidence of goats! I pulled off the road, grabbed my cameras (yes, I usually carry several so I don’t have to change settings or lenses in a rush) and sure enough, there they were…goats, goats, and more goats! The best surprise was that there were several sets of kids, not all that old, and they were unbelievably adorable! They jumped and cajoled, scampered to and fro, spun impressive 360’s, bucked, reared, and whizzed by their momma’s who placidly plucked the juicy green grass from the hillside. It was quite the scene that made my lips turn a wide smile, and my heart feel thankful to be in that moment.
I immediately joined the fray of two-legged counterparts as we all tried to stay quiet, yet get around to the best vantage point for the most interesting shots. The scene was incredibly lovely, with the goats’ gleaming white coats backlit by the setting sun, and the kids dancing about the tender grass and wildflowers. It was like a big social hour for both the goats and all of us humans. I met some great people visiting from around the country, and we all hung around until the sun slipped behind the mountains, a chill set in, and we could no longer photograph these sweet creatures. The goats remained close the entire time, showing off their young kiddos, and entertaining the lot of us. It was such an incredibly fun hour or so, and a great experience.
The best time to see the goats is in late June through July, so if you want a short dusk or dawn adventure, grab your kiddos and a camera, and traipse on out to the Montana Goat Lick! See more pictures from my recent visit by clicking here.