By Zach Kellman /

Lets face it! Everyone on an Austin Adventures trip loves to see wildlife. These are the split-second moments you’ll never forget, as a rare beast of the wild crosses into view. Unfortunately your guide has absolutely no control over the circumstance, and punctuality isn’t the status quo in the animal kingdom.

mountain goats in South Dakota


Every so often the animals decide to put on a show and remind us just how raw nature really is. On the last Austin Adventures trip of my season in the Black Hills of South Dakota, we were greeted with one of these moments.

The final activity of the South Dakota trip is a short but steep hike up the “Little Devils Tower.” The trail ascends a massive granite tower in the apex of the Black Hills. The view from the top is astonishing. The scenery is complemented by fall-colored Aspen trees and more unique granite topography.

After reaching the ridgeline, we decided to catch our breath and take a few photographs. I decided to walk towards the edge of a cliff in order to get a better picture. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a big white ball of fur, I quickly realized it was a young mountain goat and moved in for a close up. I could hear clattering from the calculated footsteps of more goats scaling the cliff below, and suddenly a family of goats surrounded me. All of them were in extremely close proximity.

They majestically posed for pictures and we were able to capture some amazing images. It was impossible to not have a transcendental experience as we observed them at the top of a gorgeous mountain. I think I can speak for us all when I say the goal is to better understand and ultimately feel closer to nature; it’s our natural desire as adventurers.

spires in South Dakota
Zach Kellman

Written by: Zach Kellman

Zach grew up just outside of Washington D.C. and loves all things water. He guides many trips including South Dakota!

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