Olympic National Park rangers have warned about aggressive mountain goats on Hurricane Ridge, and what seemed like a novel trail warning turned into tragedy over the weekend when a goat fatally gored a hiker.
Jeffrey Long, a Crosscut contributor, sent me these photos from Dr. Michael Clancy, a doctor who lives in Port Angeles. Clancy was hiking on the same trail last Tuesday, the Klahhane Ridge trail.
He and his wife saw a white patch by the side of the trail that turned out to be a napping mountain goat. He was roused, says Clancy, and stood on the trail "making aggressive posturing and digging with his front hooves" about six feet away. Clancy picked up some pieces of slate and says in an email:
I threw a couple at him, one bounced off the ground and hit him in the hoof. He then put his head down and started pawing at the ground and snorting. He started moving toward us so we decided to head back the other way. He was all alone. I think he probably got dethroned, so he had to strike out on his own. Being sexually frustrated he probably wanted to take it out on us. Like it was our fault or something.
Clancy did get a few photos of the hostile goat before leaving the area, fortunately without being speared in the thigh. But if you want a picture of what it looks like to confront an angry mountain goat at Hurricane Ridge, here are the pictures. It's not certain that this is the killer goat, but the MO is the same.