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More Mountain Goats of the Clark’s Fork Canyon

I took a leisurely hike the other day with a friend.  I wanted to return to a circle of rocks overlooking the Clark’s Fork Canyon and the river below.  The rocks were piled on a boulder precipice, a strange place for them.  They were large, obviously put together by people, big enough for one person to sit inside and get out of the wind, but made no sense as a blind for hunting or a camping spot.

Rock circle big enough to sit in

My neighbor had once told me he’d found places among these rocks at edges where Native Americans had made smoke signals.  I thought I’d take some photos of this rock circle and show it to him.  As I was photographing, my friend noticed a trail down to the river.  Its almost impossible to get down the sheer cliff walls most places, so this was a great find of a fairly easy access spot.  Maybe the rocks were cairns marking this?

We noticed two goats, a mother and her yearling climbing up the rock precipice nearby.  This was unusual, because both of us had only seen goats on the other side of the canyon, and in more inaccessible places.

Mother goat looks back to her yearling: "Catch up" she says.

We tried to travel out of their way and hiked through a small gully.  Looking towards the end of the swale, we spotted about 15 goats, happily grazing on the flats.  I was surprised at the size of the herd and the fact that they were hanging around, not on the cliffs, but on the bench.  Still, we were close to the very edge of the plateau; an edge that suddenly drops 1000′ feet straight down.  That’s what they usually like.  

I took some video you can watch here.  The wind was howling so the camera’s kind of shaky.

We watched the goats for a while, found some of their fur as they’re shedding now, and ate our lunch overlooking the canyon near the edges they love so much.  Those goats aren’t native to here, but they are Rocky Mountain goats, and this is the Rockies, so… go figure.

2 Responses

  1. Greetings,
    I have not been exactly in that country…around it when I lived in Joliet and traveled to Cody often. But I have hikes around the Pryors alot looking at rock art and have seen similar rock arrangements, usually on edges of high cliffs. One knowledgeable hiking companion suggested they may be vision quest sites. We always found them close by where there was rock art, which, he explained was how they illustrated theri visions sometimes. Just FYI. Thanks so much for your posts.


  2. Love the Pryors and I want to explore it more! I definitely think its a Native American arrangement of sorts. Doesn’t make sense for a hunter’s blind nor a shelter. Thanks for the tip. That does make sense and I’ll continue to explore for the answer.

    Thank you for reading


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