Grandpa and the Mountain Goats

By Mark Cochran
Reader Contributor

“Grandpa, have you ever seen a real mountain goat, like that statue over there?”

“Yes, I have. Many of them, right here on this very mountaintop.”

“Here on Scotchman Peak? Cool! When?”

“When I was your age, my mom, dad and I would hike up here a couple of times every year, and we would see the goats almost every time.”

“Hike? You mean, like, walk? Why didn’t you just drive, or take one of the gondolas?”

“There weren’t any roads up here back then, or gondolas.”

“What about this resort?”

“This wasn’t here either. Nor were the condos or trendy shops. None of it.”

“You mean…no ziplines, no skate park, no Wild Water Slides at Little Spar Lake… not even the moving skywalk to the Skyview Deck on Scotchman 2?”

“Nope. This was pristine backcountry. Wild, rugged and breathtaking. But then some concerned citizens banded together and prevented the government from ‘locking up’ this valuable piece of real estate. And now thanks to their wisdom and forethought, we get to enjoy these fine facilities.”

“Oh,” (long, contemplative pause), “well, it’s still pretty wild up here. Honestly, my favorite part of coming up here is seeing the natural beauty of the trees, flowers, waterfalls and rock formations.”

“Yes,” Grandfather sighed, “the landscape designers did a fine job.”

He felt an ache in his heart as he sat in silence, gazing through misty eyes, beyond the Mt. Scotchman Memorial Freeway toward the sparkling lake … remembering…

“Grandpa? Grandpa, you OK?”

“What? Oh yeah, I’m fine. Just missing an old and dear friend.”

“OK, well, I’ll let you be alone with your friend for a while. I’m going to wander over and check out the rock gym.”

Mark W. Cochran is a Sandpoint business owner, a graduate of the University of Idaho, a retired U.S. Marine, and an active volunteer with Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness.

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