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Five humans and 10 goats converged upon Pittsburg Landing, in the depths of Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, on a warm April evening. We were ready for a 3-day car-camping/goat hiking adventure in one of the most beautiful places in Idaho.

Since our last gathering, in September of 2011 (see trip report here http://www.packgoatforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=1263), we had 3 new goat additions: 1-year old twins Lewis and Clark, belonging to Joe and Alida, and Smudge (also one year), belonging to Harriet. With a total of 10 goats, we knew we were in for some fun!

We selected a lovely campsite adjacent to the Snake River, complete with picnic table, outhouse, and fire pit. After some very minor butting, our goats quickly settled in and enjoyed some delicious weed-free hay, while we humans enjoyed cocktail hour and dinner before turning in for the night.

The next morning, we set out for a day-hike on the Snake River Trail. [attachment=7:26ris1gw]Setting out.jpg[/attachment:26ris1gw]What a glorious sight it was, to see 10 goats of all sizes and colors, interspersed between their humans, winding along the rugged trail that hugs the steep walls of the deepest gorge in North America. [attachment=5:26ris1gw]Along the trail.jpg[/attachment:26ris1gw]The day was warm (nearly 80 degrees F), and all our goats still had healthy winter coats, so it didn’t take long until there was some pretty heavy panting going on in the herd. We made sure to take breaks in the shade, and stopped for water at every creek we crossed. The three “rookies†had their first experience with water crossings, and all came through with flying colors, although some did a little less “flying,†and a little more “swimming!â€[attachment=6:26ris1gw]Lewis gets wet.jpg[/attachment:26ris1gw][attachment=4:26ris1gw]Harriet and her herd.jpg[/attachment:26ris1gw]

The next day, we hiked up Klopton Creek, a newly-reconstructed trail that follows a stream through a beautiful side canyon. Once again, the goats got plenty of exposure to water crossings. We all had a relaxing break in the shade, surrounded by our faithful companions, before heading back to our campsite and one last pleasant evening by the fire.[attachment=1:26ris1gw]Tired goats.jpg[/attachment:26ris1gw]

By the end of our 3-day campout, our 3 groups of goats seemed to have formed a loosely-bonded “herd†that wandered around grazing, climbing the nearby rocks, or resting peacefully, chewing their cuds. It was so much fun to see various breeds, ages, sizes, males and females, horns and hornless, interact. Of course our squirt bottles were never far away, in case we needed to discipline anyone. But we were pleasantly surprised that all our goats were so well-behaved. [attachment=3:26ris1gw]Chester and Barley.jpg[/attachment:26ris1gw][attachment=2:26ris1gw]The Oberhasli contingent.jpg[/attachment:26ris1gw]

Everyone agreed that the outing was a huge success. We sadly bid goodbye, but are already planning more adventures together. Our goats even seemed a little sad to leave, too! Our newest young goats learned about walking single-file on a trail, sampling new vegetation, how to cross water, drink from creeks, how to behave in camp, and how to socialize around other goats. Our more “experienced†goats showed the "rookies" how it's done, and all of us got a chance to prepare for the upcoming hiking season.

To spend time with good friends in a beautiful setting, with beloved animal companionsâ€"it doesn’t get any better than this! Wishing all our pack goat friends many wonderful adventures, and looking forward to hearing more stories from others that share our passion![attachment=0:26ris1gw]Crazy goat people.jpg[/attachment:26ris1gw]
 

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