4th Annual Hassey "Goat Vacation"
Wild Horse Window from the outside. I didn't know there would be such a nice group of good-lookin' guys up there! 

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The cavern was quite large once we got up to it, and our entire group had plenty of room to stretch out and relax on the smooth rock floor. The window at the top made the room fairly bright inside.  

Pac-Man and Sputnik: Father and son. You can tell by the freckles.

There were cool pictographs on the cavern wall which were easy to access and view up close. There were several different colors in the paint, including red, yellow, and brown. I wonder what they meant?  

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Sputnik thought it was a nice place to give me a kiss. 

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This turned out to be Sputnik's post I guess. We rarely get decent photos of this quick and nervous little goat--Finn too often chases him out of the frame--so I suppose it's about time he had his moment of glory. 

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The third and final day of our camping trip in San Rafael Swell arrived. We broke camp and headed down the road a few miles to Goblin Valley--a strange, flat bowl filled with bizarre rock formations that has become a regular stop on me and Phil's Utah trips. It was fun to go there with a whole group of other people and lots of goats!  

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The "goblins" are great fun to climb on for both people and goats. 

However, this was an "Pets must be leashed" park, so the goats weren't allowed quite as much freedom as I would have liked. We let them off-leash here and there as we got further from the parking lot and the crowds, but because it was Saturday and the park was swamped we did have to keep a close eye on our charges.  

I tried to pose with Sputnik on this rock, but Finn had to come along, and between the two of them I got "goated". 

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I loved how our goats stayed in their groups: My goats with me, Herb's goats with him. 

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Keep these photos coming! It was such a FUN trip!
Goatberries Happen!
I may have to start a new thread called "Finn: Show-off"


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Would you like a side of ham with that?


Ok, now this is just a bit much!

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The final day of our San Rafael trip was bittersweet, not only because we bid farewell our friends, but also because this was the day we said goodbye to Pac-Man. One of the guys who met us on this trip came all the way down from Washington not only to visit Utah for the first time, but also to buy Pac-Man as his first packgoat. 

We think Pac-Man will be very happy in his new life with Eldon and Debbi. They are not hardcore packers, and since Pac-Man is not a hardcore packgoat I think they will get along famously. Pac-Man and Eldon bonded quite a bit even in this short weekend together, so while it was tough to say goodbye to our dear “Sponge”, it felt good to know he went to a nice home where he will be loved and appreciated for the big, sweet marshmallow he is. 


After saying goodbye to our friends and to Pac-Man at Goblin Valley, Phil and I headed out to Escalante. We spent a relaxing first day hiking up the Escalante River (which was really more of a trickle), and it was a great opportunity for the younger goats to practice getting their feet wet over and over again. 

Sputnik had the honor of carrying our food and water that day. This little Outward Hound dog pack was super cheap and it's not perfect by any means, but as long as we adjust the straps correctly and balance the load exactly, it seams to stay neatly in place most of the time. It held up better than I expected on this trip, considering how often it was scraped on branches and rocks. 

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We were surrounded by beautiful, high canyon walls for the entire hike. At one point, Phil and I used "math skills" to estimate the height of the cliffs. I looked at a tall pine tree way up on the wall and estimated the height of the tree, then estimated how many would have to be stacked on top of each other to reach the top. I arrived at 450 feet. Phil thought that might not be accurate, so he used a stick to measure the height of the wall (one stick length) compared to the length of his arm (two stick lengths). Then I paced off our distance from the wall, which turned out to be about 900 feet. Whether we were right or wrong, at least there was no argument. Wink

We came on the Escalante hike two years ago, and we were surprised this time to see that the rock art had recently been "modernized" by what appear to have been some teenaged visitors wielding charcoal lumps from a nearby fire pit. A nice couple took a photo of us and our goats in front of this mix of old and new graffiti.  

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Sputnik is shaping up to be a pretty decent hiking companion. He seems to enjoy carrying a pack. I think it gives him a sense of purpose and importance--a feeling a bottom-tier goat doesn't often get. 

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There was plenty of shade on this hike, and a creek to keep our toes cool. This was especially nice for Cuzco, who is definitely beginning to feel his age. He hiked 12 miles to Wild Horse Window and back and never once lagged or complained. And Phil and I probably took him about 10 miles on this Escalante hike even though he had spent the previous day walking the hard surfaces of Goblin Valley and riding in the trailer over the winding, twisting State Highway 12. But in spite of his creaky joints and shortness of wind, I think Cuzco truly enjoys these expeditions.  

And he's a great example to the yearlings. Cuzco bravely crosses water that the younger guys will do almost anything to avoid. 

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Case in point: 

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Finn took charge of the pack on the way back. Since they are only yearlings, we kept the pack lightweight and we never made either one carry it for the entire hike. 

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Speaking of goats not wanting to cross water, this is what happened when Finn led instead of Cuzco. Cuzco stares bemusedly after Finn's questionable choice of navigation.

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Sputnik spent our entire time in Escalante expressing his undying opinion that Finn is an infallible leader.  

Every single thing Finn did... 

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Sputnik did too.  

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Sputnik became Finn's shadow, and since Finn is showing early signs of becoming an incredible packgoat while Sputnik has always possessed some fairly questionable personality traits, I can only think that this copycat behavior is a good thing.
Our second day in Escalante was cold, windy, and full of rain. We spent the morning doing laundry and hoping the skies would clear but they never did. We have to be especially careful of Cuzco these days as he's not very resistant to pneumonia in his old age. The rain gave way to sullen, brooding skies in the afternoon, so we took a chance on the weather and darted out for a brief but pleasant hike up a butte just outside of town. We had originally planned to go down the wash, but someone ahead of us had a bunch of rambunctious loose dogs, so we turned off the trail and made our own way up toward a cool-looking rock outcropping we could see from the valley floor. It turned out to be even cooler than we realized! We discovered a weird, crumbling little mini-arch with a spectacular view of the town of Escalante and the surrounding valley with its beautiful rock walls and lovely green farms.   

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Finn says, "I want up there!" 

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If you see a small tunnel, you have to squeeze through it! 

I tried to get pictures of the view from the top, but the flatness of the light faded it all together and I tossed those photos. So here's a picture of my handsome husband enjoying the view instead. 

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We also found a cool boulder.

And then it started to rain so we packed ourselves as tightly as possible under my umbrella and raced back to the truck. Finn, in a moment of blind panic about getting left behind in the rain, tried to get himself run over. I always have to back the truck up to a bank or a rock so Cuzco can get in. Finn didn't want to wait and he bolted away from Phil and leaped into the truck while I was backing up. I didn't even see him until he landed on the tailgate and almost gave me a heart attack. Cuzco got wet, but not too wet. I blanketed him and bedded everyone down cozy in their trailer as soon as we got back. It was a short adventure but a memorable one.
That last bolder looks like Sputnik. Thanks for the great pictures.

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