Goat-O-Rama's Summer Adventures
This summer has been a whirlwind and I think it's only just now starting to slow down--just in time for fall madness to start! The weekend after the NAPga Rendezvous, Phil and I were in Creede, CO for a family reunion on my dad's side. We had a great time seeing everyone in Creede. It was the 45th anniversary of my Aunt Jenny's business called "Rare Things," so she had organized some fun celebratory events involving a lot of the colorful Creede locals. One of the highlights of the trip was the cannon at the museum. It was a homemade job that shot bowling balls. My aunt actually attended its inaugural firing back in the 1990's. They thought it would go a few hundred feet but instead the bowling ball flew more than half a mile over the ridge. Afterwards, the owner set the cannon up on one side of the Creede valley and would shoot bowling balls over the town to the mountainside across the way. Eventually the sheriff had to put a stop to it after some hikers nearly got hit by mistake. My aunt says they once took the cannon down to the local dump and shot a frozen pig's head at a dead VW bus. It knocked the bus clean over! I wish I could have seen it fire, but alas, the cannon's owner and builder is dead and the cannon is now a museum piece. It hasn't been fired in probably 15 years. 

After Creede, Phil and I hopped on over to Lake City to visit old friends and take the "avalanche tour." This past winter, Lake City was buried under an incredible amount of snow (I believe 400% of average was the number I heard). In late winter and early spring, that snow began to slide! It took out one house completely (the sheriff and his two daughters were lucky to be alive after their home was turned to matchwood). Many other homes were evacuated due to the danger. Some folks south of town were cut off when a huge slide covered the highway. It took five days to clear a path. One couple I know was grocery shopping in Lake City and they had to make sudden, unexpected arrangements to stay with friends. They were worried about their dog left at home, but he was ok. After that, many folks found friends to stay with in Lake City as more snow kept coming down and burying the road. Homes along Bluff Street in Lake City itself were also evacuated. 

By the time Phil and I got there, the snow was all gone from the lower areas, but the river was only just peaking at the end of June. This is at least two weeks late and there was lots more snow still left in the mountains, ready to rush down. There were so many ice and log dams across the two rivers that many folks were concerned about flash floods. Lake City was covered in sandbags when we got there and the museum had been packed up and evacuated, ready for flood. Phil and I drove up both valleys south of Lake City and surveyed the avalanche damage. How they managed to clear as much as they did was amazing to me. The snow had brought down huge trees to the point where it looked like entire forests had been uprooted and tossed over the road and into the river. The passes to Ouray and Silverton did not open this summer and tourism took a pretty hefty blow. Apparently there was one slide up near the top that was 150 feet deep of packed ice and trees.   

Here's the road near Snowden Meadow where we held the 2017 NAPgA Rendezvous.   

The Alpine Gulch Trail that we worked on during that Rendezvous was closed due to flooding concerns, but Phil and I ventured up it a short way to see if there was anything left of our handiwork at the first big crossing. Alas, our log bridges were gone, but the rock work we did was holding up marvelously! Herb's dam was still diverting water away from the trail, and the rock that Finn and Merciless hauled to rebuild the trail was still high and dry. Woohoo!   
Phil and I were so exhausted after two very packed back-to-back trips that we just weren't ready for 4th of July the following Thursday. We got the carriage out and drove the goats once for practice, but I ran out of energy to clean and polish the carriage and harnesses and bathe the goats. If we weren't going to do it right, we decided we weren't going to do it at all, so we skipped the Westcliffe parade this year. Phil went for a hike while I stayed home and caught up on some things. I was in the office when I heard a frightened baby goat crying outside the house. It was Yeti and the other goats were nowhere to be seen. He must have fallen asleep and gotten left by mistake. I called and called but no one came, so I invited Yeti into the house with me for the morning. We had fireworks indoors that morning. I got nothing else done, but Yeti and I had a blast.     
In July I was supposed to go on a women's "all-animal" pack trip with Alexa from Pack Animal Magazine like we did last year. I had it all planned and did all the work making arrangements to leave, only to have the trip cancelled just a few days before when two ladies backed out with no warning. It was frustrating and disappointing, but I was embroiled in the proposed GMUG packgoat ban at the time and really wanted to attend an open house meeting in Gunnison which fell right in the middle of the pack trip. So I went to that instead. 

In early August, Finn and Sputnik had their first paid gig when they were asked to give cart rides at a local family reunion. Sputnik did all the heavy lifting at that event. Finn was supposed to provide entertainment in the form of tricks and petting. But Finn was in a sour mood that morning so we mostly left him be while Sputnik pulled everyone around the yard. We even persuaded the grown-ups to each take a ride! 

That afternoon we took them over to Beulah for the annual Arts & Crafts show. Both goats pulled carts for that event, and it was a good time. We were too hot and busy to get photos at either one of those events, but I took pictures of Sputnik getting his bath beforehand. I think I've mentioned before that Sputnik loves baths. He pushes his face into the spray and flaps his lips, closes his eyes, and goes, "Oooh... ahhh..." 

Nice 'n' clean! (And ready for a towel!)

Finn is a little dramatic. He doesn't care for cart-pulling and is inclined to sulk and put on a dying act for the entire day, even after he's done working. We put him in the trailer where he pouted under the hay bag and made pathetic little baa-ing/whimpering noises while Sputnik happily munched hay and dropped it all over Finn's back. "Poor, abused Finn!" 
A few days later on August 6th, Phil and I headed out for our second trip to Texas this year. The last one was in March/April and we were able to see all of my grandparents, including Dan who was in the nursing home and not doing well. Dan died two months later on June 8th, but the memorial service was not held until August 8th. It was a whirlwind trip and we had a good time seeing everyone again (nearly all of them were at the Creede reunion in June). The service was very nice. Dan was in the navy at the very end of WWII and got a military service with the trumpet playing Taps and a flag presented to my grandmother. It was very touching.   

My last photo with Dan back in April. 

A picture of me and Dan riding in my horse carriage in Lake City in Septemer, 2005. 

My aunt Jenny took a photo of Dan petting young Cuzco that same year. It was in one of the photo albums at the memorial service. I'll have to see if she still has the negatives. I'd love to get a copy.
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! 

"I can has jellybeenz?" 

"All gone, Finn!"


Finn's back makes a good footrest. 
But as usual, Finn would rather be adored than 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!”
Wonderful photos and write-up, Nanno! The cannon story is hilarious. Sorry you lost Grandpa Dan, he lived a very full life. I can't believe the power of those avalanches by Lake City! Your goats are very lucky indeed, to get to hang out with you on the porch and even in the house! You are such an expressive writer, thank you for sharing your summer adventures with us!--Saph
Thanks Irene!
Last weekend Phil and I attended the Colorado State Fair, and I have to say it was the best time we've had at Fair in a long time. We were there three days: Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. We only brought two goats, Rita and Skeeter, so it was a low-key weekend of showing. We got to see all the sights and take in all the shows. We even splurged and bought tickets to the ferris wheel one night! 

The highlight of the weekend was this guy. We found him lying at the back of the cattle barn on Saturday, and I could not get over those enormous horns! I'm always impressed by the African Watusi cattle, but I had never seen one this massive before.   

Phil and I set up the goat obstacle course on Saturday night. Turnout was not quite as big this year, but it's always a fun crowd pleaser nonetheless. I competed with Rita and she did not do very well, but we still came in second place. Phil and Skeeter were somewhere near last. 

The youth costume class was woefully under-attended. This was the only contestant, but her costume was outstanding and I'm guessing she would have won even if she'd had some competition. 

This lovely señorita went all-out for the adult costume contest. She was a piñata sales-lady, and her little Nigerian Dwarf kid was dressed as one of the piñatas. After the class, the lady hung one of her piñatas up in the show ring for the kids to swing at. (It was not the goat piñata!) She was the deserving winner of the adult competition.  

This goat deserved a prize for its extreme patience. They showed up early for the costume class and had to wait through the obstacle competition. This goat never complained about that massive saddle or laid down or tried to rub it off. 

Phil and I donned our Chinese outfits and dressed our goats up in a lion dance costume. Unfortunately one of the goats stepped on the sheet, Rita tripped and went down, and the whole costume ripped right down the middle. Skeeter was afraid of her lion head and wasn't walking very well anyway, so our lovely lion dance parade ended in a shambles, but it got us all laughing. 

Next day I discovered that the incredible Watusi steer that had so fascinated me the day before was actually one of the attractions! For $15 you could sit on "Oliver's" back and get your photo taken! I could not pass up the opportunity to ride such a magnificent animal. He was not only enormous, but he was incredibly gentle and a real ham for the camera. Every time the camera pointed at him, Oliver lifted his head and bared his bottom teeth in a big, cheesy grin. Yee-haw!

On Monday, Oliver actually competed in the Watusi show. His owner, the gentleman in the cowboy hat, took the blue ribbon in showmanship (I'm not sure what the lavender ribbon was for). I am not surprised they won showmanship. Oliver and his owner work together beautifully.  
Were there any yaks? That watusi is really impressive indeed. Now I'm thinking I'd like to see a herd of those guys surprise them all at the running of the bulls. But you gotta have mean ones that knew how to shishkabab.
I don't drink beer, but if I did, I'd prefer Dos Equis.  Stay thirsty my friends!

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