If you know me closely, follow me on social media, or continue to listen to my podcast, you probably already know some of the story of, and love Benny Benson. But here's the whole picture:
Glacier Bay contains an amazing diversity of all sorts of types of animals. Puffins make their rare appearance in Southeast, orca and whales roam the waters, bears roam nearly every shore, and rafts of sea otters float around unassumingly. Some of the diversity centers in a few terrestrial and water hotspots, namely Gloomy Knob and S. Marble Is. As you make the lengthy trek through Glacier Bay, first South Marble Is. and then Gloomy Knob are welcome spots to slow down and see some new and uncommon animals.
Gloomy Knob is a massive marble and granite peninsula with nearly vertical cliff faces. Because of the steepness, it's a favorite spot for at least dozens, but probably hundreds of mountain goats. As we approach, I let all our guests know to head up to the bow and start trying to spot the sometimes quite elusive goats. Our second time in the area, in mid-may,
I spotted something I didn't recognize. About 100-feet up, a large female goat had some pink flesh in her mouth. Mountain goats don't eat meat, so I zoomed in on my camera to investigate.
It was not meat, and she was not eating it. What it was, was her placenta, and she was burying it as to hide it from the pesky bald eagles who like to come spook her newborn sometimes. As I scrolled across the grass, I saw the most scraggly, skinny, and confused-looking goat I've ever seen. Her newborn could not have been more than two hours old. It had just stopped raining, and the mom still had blood dripping down her backside. Throughout the summer we were lucky enough to follow and observe the growth of this amazing creature. It became a special part of the week searching for him. I grew
quite fond of the little guy.
As the weeks progressed, I would start showing photos of him and telling guests this story to raise excitement for Glacier Bay. It was very clear how much I loved this part of the week, and people began associating me with him. After a few weeks, he gained the name Benny Benson. (Also the name of the kid who drew the Alaska State flag!) Benny grew at an
amazing rate throughout the year, and many other new borns arose around the peninsula. Here are three pictures of the little guy. Right at birth, a few weeks later as he began eating plants, and later in the season, looking very plush!
Benny Benson has his own Instagram page, follow him at @Benny_Benson_the_goat