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Thread: OC Story -- North Cascades National Park

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    Regular Member acmariner99's Avatar
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    OC Story -- North Cascades National Park

    Yesterday, me and a friend decided to spend the hottest day of 2012 in WA State (~90 degrees) doing some hiking in the North Cascades, specifically Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm about 25 miles east of Marblemount, WA. My friend thought it interesting that I carry "all the time." She is a gun owner and very conservative too, but just thinks it interesting that somebody would always carry. She easily understood my response of the power and responsibility of exercising a constitutional right -- which stems beyond mere possession of firearms.

    Our adventure started by getting some snacks at a 7-11 in Arlington, where I happened to notice key chains in the shape of popular handguns and so-called "assault weapons." I had a good chuckle and the lady behind the counter made no comment about my XD strapped to my side.

    We arrive at the trail head where the sharp jagged peaks of the North American Alps greeted us. The first 3.5 miles was an easy grade to the pass itself then another 3 miles or so to the top of Sahale arm. Nobody made any comments while going uphill. But, we had an interesting situation where we finally decided to stop. As we were climbing up the exposed and loose piles of scree we noticed a mountain goat perched up top at a plateau near the base of a glacier. When we stopped my friend hurriedly and nervously commented that the goat was moving in our direction. I've heard stories about mountain goats being rather vicious and anxious for nutrients -- especially salt -- which my friend and I were both coated with at this point from our exertion up the mountain. We circled away from the creature, but he kept getting closer to us. We had a clear view of him about 20 - 25 feet away - maybe closer. We kept backing away until we were behind him. He circled around the site where we stopped and continued on his merry way. I did have my hand on my weapon ready to draw in case the horned goat decided to make a move at us. If I had to shoot, I would have preferred to fire a couple of shots at the ground in front of it to try to scare it -- but I have no idea if it would have scared it or just make it angry.

    After spending a half hour or so scrambling down the scree fields, a nice couple took a few pictures of us and as she handed me my camera said "whoa, is that a real gun?" I replied, "yes, it is." "Oh, I guess that is good to have out here." We then parted company. We also saw a park ranger heading up the mountain -- armed with a Sig I believe. We talked for a few minutes, she made no comment about my XD and we continued. I got a couple more comments from curious individuals -- "What are you armed with?" and "I hope you don't need that." All in all it was a pretty awesome day above the tree line.

  2. #2
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    Wow, good thing that the encounter with the goat didn't escalate. They can get to be pretty aggressive. A couple years ago one of them killed a man in WA.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/outp...onal-park.html

  3. #3
    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acmariner99 View Post
    Yesterday, me and a friend decided to spend the hottest day of 2012 in WA State (~90 degrees) doing some hiking in the North Cascades, specifically Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm about 25 miles east of Marblemount, WA. My friend thought it interesting that I carry "all the time." She is a gun owner and very conservative too, but just thinks it interesting that somebody would always carry. She easily understood my response of the power and responsibility of exercising a constitutional right -- which stems beyond mere possession of firearms.

    Our adventure started by getting some snacks at a 7-11 in Arlington, where I happened to notice key chains in the shape of popular handguns and so-called "assault weapons." I had a good chuckle and the lady behind the counter made no comment about my XD strapped to my side.

    We arrive at the trail head where the sharp jagged peaks of the North American Alps greeted us. The first 3.5 miles was an easy grade to the pass itself then another 3 miles or so to the top of Sahale arm. Nobody made any comments while going uphill. But, we had an interesting situation where we finally decided to stop. As we were climbing up the exposed and loose piles of scree we noticed a mountain goat perched up top at a plateau near the base of a glacier. When we stopped my friend hurriedly and nervously commented that the goat was moving in our direction. I've heard stories about mountain goats being rather vicious and anxious for nutrients -- especially salt -- which my friend and I were both coated with at this point from our exertion up the mountain. We circled away from the creature, but he kept getting closer to us. We had a clear view of him about 20 - 25 feet away - maybe closer. We kept backing away until we were behind him. He circled around the site where we stopped and continued on his merry way. I did have my hand on my weapon ready to draw in case the horned goat decided to make a move at us. If I had to shoot, I would have preferred to fire a couple of shots at the ground in front of it to try to scare it -- but I have no idea if it would have scared it or just make it angry.

    After spending a half hour or so scrambling down the scree fields, a nice couple took a few pictures of us and as she handed me my camera said "whoa, is that a real gun?" I replied, "yes, it is." "Oh, I guess that is good to have out here." We then parted company. We also saw a park ranger heading up the mountain -- armed with a Sig I believe. We talked for a few minutes, she made no comment about my XD and we continued. I got a couple more comments from curious individuals -- "What are you armed with?" and "I hope you don't need that." All in all it was a pretty awesome day above the tree line.
    Goats, bears, cougars...and other animals are more dangerous to you if you have your back turned to them, or worse, running away from them. Never run, always back away, slowly and most likely the encounter will be something to just talk about. With Bears and cougars, advancing can normally get them them to leave...but don't do that with a male goat or sheep...they will think you are chalanging them...just back away.

  4. #4
    Regular Member acmariner99's Avatar
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    I was more worried about startling the goat or scaring it. There was a substantial amount of rock cover. My friend and I retreated onto a sno field, backing away and behind the animal. Nobody wanted to pick a fight and i don't think the goat was interested in us at all. Guess the antis will wonder why a trigger happy mountain man didn't just shoot the animal cause it was in my way and may have attacked us.

  5. #5
    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acmariner99 View Post
    I was more worried about startling the goat or scaring it. There was a substantial amount of rock cover. My friend and I retreated onto a sno field, backing away and behind the animal. Nobody wanted to pick a fight and i don't think the goat was interested in us at all. Guess the antis will wonder why a trigger happy mountain man didn't just shoot the animal cause it was in my way and may have attacked us.
    lol, yes, good encounter. Male Goats are unpredictable...they may run, they may not...you handled that one correctly. I would prefer meeting a bear or a cougar, at least they are for the most part predictable...male Grizzles during mating season excepted.

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    Regular Member Difdi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hermannr View Post
    With Bears and cougars, advancing can normally get them them to leave...
    It's also worth noting that cats have a target range. Too big and you're too much trouble, the cat backs off unless it has a reason not to (cubs in a den, for example). Too small, and you might be fun to play with, but you don't represent enough calories for the cat to seriously hunt (no human aside from a few premature babies is this small).

    Big is usually determined by height or length; Small and chubby is much the same as small and thin to the cat's way of thinking.

    Adult humans are right on the upper edge of a cougar's attack range. Particularly smaller adults, such as most women. This is why common advice when dealing with a cougar is to raise your arms in the air and try to look bigger. By making the cougar think you're above his range, you're more likely to be left alone.

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