Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Looking For Goats And Finding Adventure

© Neil Ever Osborne, iLCP

Save Our Wild Salmon and the
International League of Conservation Photographers have joined forces to tell the story of the Snake River's one of a kind salmon and the place they call home.

Hopping into Nappy Neaman's pick-up, there was no mistake of what we were after. Known by many in the Sawtooth Valley as the "Goat Man", Nappy is a local legend with a tenacious passion for seeking out the nimble, rugged mountain goats of this landscape.

Nappy Neaman, aka "Goat Man" searching for goats at Phyllis Lake. © Neil Ever Osborne, iLCP

After a massive sheep traffic jam and more than 6 hours hiking to the goat's favorite haunts like Phyllis Lake and the aptly named Goat Rocks, when we finally caught our first glimpse
of three adult goats and two babies perched high on a peak.

More than a mile away, we were too far to snap photos, but the thing about adventures (and wildlife scouting missions) is that you never know what you're going to end up with. The adventure is all about the story. And standing there on the trail looking up at those goats, it's crystal clear why this place is so special.

Nappy said: "Why these goats traveled from the North to live in these mountains, we don't know. And why salmon travel from here to the ocean only to battle their way all of this way back to these very streams, we just don't know. We don't know everything. But it's all connected. No one is more important than the other. But if you lose one of them, you effect every single one of them... You lose a piece of why this place is so special."

Photos © Neil Ever Osborne, iLCP

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