A March to the Arch

This past Saturday, Phil and I organized a group hike to the Saint Charles Arch, which lies between Rye and San Isabel. It’s an easy five-mile round trip and the arch is always a surprise the first time you see it. It’s an arch “which cannot be found except by those who already knows where it is.” 😉

Among the group was Steve from Beulah who bought Max and Sgt. Pepper from me a year ago. He brought them along and I hardly recognized them! They’ve grown magnificently and look very healthy and happy.

My long-time friend Tiffany also joined us from Pueblo West, as did Jeff and Diana from Rye whose daughter Emma has been taking riding lessons from me this summer.

Steve’s goats needed a little persuasion to cross the creek.

The area beneath the arch was shady and full of good things for goats to eat. 

And there it is! The Saint Charles Arch. It’s rare to see a granite arch this size. 

We picnicked on the rock slide in the arch’s shade. This is one of Steve’s photos.

Buster Brown and I hung out together during lunch because he kept trying to share Emma’s sandwich.

Phil and Jeff climbed to the top of the arch.

Emma and Buster Brown formed an immediate bond and became inseparable throughout the hike. If Emma lagged behind, Buster stopped and waited for her. Once in a while, Buster would get nervous if the older goats got too far ahead, so he would trot a little and Emma would jog beside him with her hand on his back. Emma’s parents told us she would never have lasted the whole hike without Buster Brown to keep her company.

It was just a little further down this hill that Buster got a few feet ahead of Emma and she slipped. Buster turned around quickly and said, “Baaa!” with a worried look on his face. They could not have been a sweeter pair.

The hike out of the canyon was hot and largely uphill, so Finn gave Emma a lift for probably close to a mile. 

With the way her hair is blowing back, you’d think Emma and Finn were in a race! Emma later asked her mom if she could start taking goatback riding lessons! 

Finn stuck his head over the side and flapped his ears in the breeze on the ride home. 

We created lots of fun memories on Saturday, but this is the one I love best. 

Goodbye, Yeti and Thor!

On August 12th, Yeti and Thor went to their new home in Cheyenne, WY. They went to a lovely family that will be training them as packgoats and I know they will be very happy and well cared-for. But we will certainly miss them nonetheless. Phil and I took them on a final walk the day before and made sure to get lots of pictures.

Yeti is always front and center for attention or for the camera.

Yes, I think the boys were ready to grow up. They were 75 lbs. each and were starting to look almost as big as their mom! 

I’ve often had trouble telling Yeti and Snowball apart at a distance (although the horns usually gave Yeti away pretty quick!). I won’t have to look twice to see who’s sneaking up on me any more.

Yeti and Thor pose regally while Brownie and Cupcake cavort in the background. 

Thor–so photogenic!

Yeti–not quite so photogenic, but what he lacks in looks he makes up for in charisma. 

And then we have Finn–Supreme Champion of both the photogenic and charismatic categories. Finn had some really big boots to fill when he took over from Cuzco, and it’s taken him a while to really live up to the task, but I think he’s succeeding. 

Brownie and Cupcake are always competing for the “friendliest kid” award.

Goat train!!

Beautiful Thor.

What’s this guy stalking?

Maybe a pretty girl named Rita. 

Mocha is probably the liveliest and most curious kid this year. But at the same time she’s as sweet and gentle as a little fawn.

Yeti: King of the Rock!

Run like the wind!

These ladies are much too mature for such antics! Grown-up goats march in an orderly, dignified fashion!

Yeti: King of the Log!

Snowball and I share a moment.

Race home, goats!

A quiet moment to remember Cuzco.

And we finish off with a couple of pictures of lovely, contemplative Thor. We’ll sure miss these guys, but we’re thrilled they’ve found a wonderful home where they will be loved and appreciated.

I Can Has Jellybeenz?

Phil and I were enjoying a rest on the back porch swings when Finn heard us talking and asked to join the party. I opened the back gate and he trotted up the porch steps, reminding me so much of Cuzco, who loved to hang out with us on the porch at every opportunity.

My Aunt Jana gave us a bag of jellybeans and I unwisely offered one to Finn. He was insatiable after that! I gave a handful to Phil, but Finn wheedled most of them away for himself. He begged most of mine off me as well and even persuaded Phil to go in the house and bring him another handful. Greedy goat!  

“All gone, Finn!”


Finn’s back makes a good footrest.

But as usual, Finn would prefer to be loved than to be useful.

He also mugs for the camera. Unlike Cuzco, who would stand at an appropriately noble distance to be photographed at his best angles, Finn gets right in there and shoves his face into the lens.

“Alright Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up!”

All Gussied Up

Finn and Sputnik’s cart pulling services were recently requested for a local family reunion followed immediately by the Beulah Arts & Crafts Fair. So the boys got a bath and Sputnik, as usual, was thrilled. Baths are one of his favorite things.  

“A little more to the left. Ahhh… that’s the spot!” 
Often he flaps his lips and slurps at the spray when I aim the water at his nose. 

Finn does not like baths, and he was a bit sulky about having to do work that day. He was tired and laid down in the trailer on the way home while Sputnik enjoyed the hay bag and scattered his snack all over Finn’s back.

Thor and Yeti’s Big Day

Phil and I took Thor and Yeti out for their first hike the other day, and it was a big hit! The boys had a great time exploring, jumping on rocks, and nibbling new things they don’t get to eat at home.

Thor is very photogenic. He has beautiful markings on his face and that pink nose is adorable. He’s a sweet, mellow, affectionate goat. 

Yeti is our bold adventurer. He’s affectionate to a fault and we’re having to set boundaries because he can get very pushy for attention. Yeti is gung-ho and throws himself fully into whatever activity he happens to be doing at the time.  

Despite his size, Yeti still sees an open lap as an open invitation and will climb right up without asking. He hasn’t climbed on my lap for a while, and this day I gave him permission.  

The boys weren’t too sure about their first water crossing. Phil and I walked off, hoping they would get brave and follow. 

But no, we had to break out the leash. 

Once we pulled Thor across, Yeti bravely splashed over on his own.  

The Adventures of Buster Brown

A couple of weeks ago Phil and I took Brownie out for his first hiking adventure. It was a longish hike so Finn carried our lunch and showed Brownie what it means to be a big, important packgoat that gets to carry the important stuff.  

Brownie wasn’t too sure about his first water crossing. But the big goats did it, so he had to go too! 

I hate it when they look over cliffs like this! “Don’t fall, Brownie!”
P.S. Look at the blue pinecones on that tree behind Brownie. 

I think he was eating ants. 

If it weren’t for the horns curling up, you’d never spot Sputnik curled up among these dappled gray rocks. His coat blends right in! 

Indoor Fireworks

4th of July was different this year. Normally Phil and I are gung-ho to show off our team and wagon in a parade, but we weren’t quite prepared this time, having been out of town so much in June, so we stuck close to home. Phil went for a little hike while I stayed home and caught up on some office work.

Yeti ended up helping me in the office. I kept hearing plaintive baby goat cries circling the house so I went out to see what was going on. The herd was nowhere to be found and Yeti was wandering very despondently by himself. I took pity on the poor abandoned waif and invited him up to the office. “Wheeee!!!”

Our office is crammed full of interesting things for a baby goat to sniff, chew, hide behind, and play on.

Yeti politely introduced himself to our “cowch.”

“Oooh… squishy!”

“I wonder if I can get milk from here?”

The swivel chair was especially fun to play on!

“Can I watch YouTube videos?

I made him get down from my desk, so he decided to try out Phil’s. 

The excitement level escalated very quickly after this and I had to abandon the camera and go into full chaos control mode as Yeti began zipping up and down stairs, launching on and off chairs and couches, ricocheting around the walls, and chewing everything within reach. He was also shedding hair all over the place.  As soon as his mother came back to claim him, he was outside!

“I love you, Yeti, but you’re not easy house guest any more, wild man!”

Back to the Ol’ Stomping Grounds

At the end of June, Phil and I took a quick trip to Creede and Lake City to visit family and friends. The Creede visit included a reunion of my dad’s side of the family where we gathered to celebrate my aunt Jenny’s 45th anniversary of being in business there with her shop, Rare Things. It was a great time with aunts, uncles, and cousins. We went hiking, we went on a mine tour, we visited the Creede museum, we went to a Rare Things celebratory dance at the Elks Lodge, and we ate a lot of good food.

Here I am overlooking the town of Creede.  

Phil tried to roll this boulder off the hillside. He was not successful. 

The best part of the Creede Museum was this homemade bowling ball cannon out front! It was an extremely “redneck” design but apparently it worked extremely well. The man who made it would shoot bowling balls across the valley, right over the town of Creede! Those bowling balls would fly half a mile! Unfortunately the sheriff made him stop one day after he almost nailed some people hiking down the trail above Creede. Please note: This is all modern history–not some decades-old story that happened in the wild west days. 

Phil just had to grab a bit at The Mac Mine food truck, which specialized in selling macaroni ‘n’ cheese to which you could add various toppings. 

After Creede, we took a brief trip to Lake City to visit some friends there. Lake City had a very heavy winter with as much as 400% of average snowfall. Numerous avalanches came down the mountainsides, blocking roads and even taking out one house belonging to the local sheriff. He and his daughters miraculously survived, but the house was obliterated.

Phil and I took ourselves on an “avalanche tour” of the valleys around Lake City and saw dozens of slides of various sizes.

A lot of timber came down, making it very difficult to open the 4WD roads out of Lake City. Several of the avalanches were so big they wiped out trees way up the opposite side of the mountain from which they came down. I was told there is a slide up near Animas Forks (between Lake City and Silverton) that has snow and logs piled 120 feet deep. They don’t know if they will be able to open the pass this summer, which if course is hurting tourism.

It was cool to watch the water disappear under the huge masses of snow, dirt, and logs, only to reappear further down. 

The high water is also hurting tourism since fishing is usually one of Lake City’s biggest draws. Maybe the fall fishing will make up for it this year. During our trip, Henson Creek was overflowing its banks just above Snowden Meadow where we held the 2017 NAPgA Rendy.  

The sturdy log bridges we built at the Rendy two years ago got washed away in this year’s floods. 

But the rock dam we built stayed in place and kept the water from flowing down the trail as it once did! 

Also, the rock we placed on this 30 feet of trail is still going strong and staying above water. Finn helped move these rocks! 

And we saw a moose in the willows near the riverbank. This was Phil’s first time seeing a moose in the wild. The photo is so lousy we could probably claim we actually saw Bigfoot, but no, she’s a moose. There is a calf in the willows just ahead of her, but it didn’t show up in the photo except as a tiny tawny patch. It was actually a very big moose calf, but I guess it was shy because it hid in the bushes as soon as we slowed down to take a picture. 

NAPgA Rendy 2019 in Buffalo, WY

On June 19th, Phil and I packed up our things and headed out to the Bighorn Mountains near Buffalo, WY for the 2019 North American Packgoat Rendezvous. The location was beyond lovely, but it was COLD!!!

Even from far away, Marc Warnke’s big, beautiful Alpine goat, Merciless, dominates every scene he’s in. 

Finn and Sputnik looked good too, even if they’re not quite as impressive as Merciless. 

Nancy Clough gave a talk on goat first aid while Nan helped a little from the sidelines. 

This year’s Rendy was much smaller than the last few years, but it was an excellent, dedicated group. 

Nan helped one couple hitch their goat to a cart for the first time. “Sprite” gave the first ride to his delighted owner, Connie.

Although he’s not quite as good looking as Sprite, Connie decided that her husband Robert was better trained. 

Sputnik modeled the Sopris Lumbar pack saddle system while Charlie Hackbarth of Sopris Unltd. modeled an amazing pants/shorts combination that not many people can pull off.

The rocks and trees around the camping area were amazing. Nan set up an obstacle course using a variety of natural landscape features. 

Finn shows everyone how brave packgoats are around umbrellas. 

Sputnik demonstrates dominates the teeter-totter obstacle. 

A lot of folks had fun playing teeter-totter with their goats. 

A fun time was had by all and we’re already looking forward to next year!