Three Engine Strong


There are several salt-based mineral licks used by wildlife in Glacier NP, but none receive as much use by the mountain goats than the aptly named gulch called Goat Lick, found along Hwy. 2 that winds through the south-end of Glacier NP.

Long ago, a river’s current cut deeply into the easily eroded soil in this area, creating steep drop offs and exposing a mass of gray clay containing gypsum, kieserite and other sulfates craved by mountain goats and other wildlife.

Glacier NP’s mountain goats travel as far as four miles to get to Goat Lick, while others from more widely dispersed areas in the Flathead National Forest travel several times that distance.  Approximately 115-165 mountain goats use Goat Lick year-round, with primary use April through August.


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Goat Lick with the Middle Fork of the Flathead River running through it’s base


To the left of the above image is the Goat Lick Trestle Bridge and smoky skies.


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Goat Lick Trestle Bridge crossing Sheep Creek
(You can see better here the exposed gray clay containing those minerals the goats seek)


Having the overlook pathway almost to ourselves, we hung around for a while, hoping to spot a mountain goat, but didn’t see any.  In the distance though, I heard a faint train whistle and an increasing rumbling sound getting closer…..and closer…..I kept my lens on the trestle bridge.


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One Engine….


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Two Engine….


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Three Engine Strong!


That was a cool ending to our visit here.  Right place, right time for sure!  😊


50 thoughts on “Three Engine Strong

    • The train was long, it kept going and going and going…. 😉 We didn’t wait for the end. This mainline track is at the south end of Glacier NP, winding east/west through at different grades. I pulled up ‘others’ images of a train on this bridge, and they all had at least 2 but usually 3 engines in the front. Power, baby!! 🙂

    • It was a long train. This mainline track is at the south end of Glacier NP, winding east/west through at different grades. I pulled up ‘others’ images of a train on this bridge, and they all had at least 2 but usually 3 engines in the front. As I told Mike, that’s “Power, baby”!! 🙂

  1. How spectacular that you had the pleasure of seeing and hearing this three engine train, Donna. Interesting about the mineral licks and goats, too.

  2. Great images, Donna, and what fun to see the train! Interesting info about the goat licks, too. It looks pretty dangerous for them, I know they are “sure-footed” but still…

  3. Up on the mountains everything is a great event of equal importance to their actors. The goats need the salt from the earth and the trains need to transport their cargo. Both have certain priorities, that’s the daily life of the mountains. Great photos, Donna. 🙂

  4. So funny, there is a Goat Lick area in Jasper National Park, in Alberta, Canada, too🙂
    We were lucky to see few goats and their babies when traveling there several years ago. It was so interesting to see them, I guess they do need the salts and the minerals.

  5. Looks like the second engine is facing the wrong way — I wonder if it’s just along for the ride. Great pictures! That’s a huge mineral lick and the evergreens are so beautiful.

    • Thanks, Barbara! Actually the backwards engine is ‘pushing’ as well, just backwards! I read that when two ‘alike’ engines as these are paired this way, they’re called a ‘married’ pair. Now you know why one is backwards! LMAO 😉

  6. It is special to see trains for me, simply because that was my mode of travel when I first came out west. The colours work well. Great scenery, itching to get away next week for some explorations.

    • Thank you, Jane! I’m quite behind since getting home from our summer trip, I hope you’ve been out exploring yourself in last couple weeks! I’m itching awful too myself, as I try to catch up.

  7. This scenery is amazing. I am especially captured by the trestle and train pics. There’s something so wonderful and yet wistful about trains, I think.

    • Thank you, Julie, I agree! I grew up living across a farm field from a train track, I loved hearing it coming and waiting to see it pop out of the woods roaring along. 🙂

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