9th Annual Hassey "Goat Vacation" -- It's About Time!!
Now that our annual "goat vacation" is a good 2 1/2 months behind us, I'm finally going to chronicle our adventures. At least, I'll get started. Let's hope I eventually have time to finish! 

Like many things this past year, our goat vacation was a little up in the air. We weren't sure when it would happen or for how long, but at least we knew where we wanted to go. Ever since she was born, our friend Herb was smitten with little Butterfly, and after she got hurt he fell in love with her even more. We knew Butterfly would probably never be a good breeding prospect and Herb wasn't interested in breeding her so his home was a perfect fit. Herb was also interested in possibly buying Butterfly's brother, George. Traveling out to visit Herb in Ferron, UT seemed like the most logical place to plan our vacation, but our dates were uncertain. With my dad in the final stages of cancer it was hard to plan anything and we didn't want to be out of town for more than about a week. We ended up with a vacation at the end of September and it worked out perfectly for all of us. We loaded up Finn, Sputnik, George, and Butterfly and struck out for central Utah.

We arrived mid-afternoon in Ferron and had time for an early evening walk near Herb's house. Herb had two kids about the same age as George and Butterfly and the babies had fun getting acquainted. Herb wasn't sure whether he wanted to buy George. He had just bought two kids in the spring and was maxed out on goats. However, I couldn't bring Butterfly alone on a long trailer ride with just Finn and Sputnik for company. Butterfly and George were fairly inseparable and I thought at the very least George should come along and keep Butterfly company during the trip and help her settle into her new home even if I ended up taking him home with me at the end.

However, it quickly became obvious on this short introductory hike that George would be staying. Not only was Herb delighted with him, but none of us realized how attached Butterfly and George were to each other, or how much Butterfly relied on her strong, fearless brother to give her confidence. When they were first born, Butterfly was the bold, strong one but breaking her pelvis changed everything and now that the kids were away from their mother, George became Butterfly's protector. It was obvious that George was aware of his sister's injury and he took his duty toward her very seriously. Herb's German Shepherd, Luna, kept coming in for a sniff, but George would have none of that! He kept himself between Butterfly and the dog at all times and whenever Luna approached them, George would snort and warn her off with an aggressive foot-stomp. Twice he lowered his sharp little horns and gave Luna a smack in the side. I'd never seen a kid that young be so aggressive with a strange dog. Luna quickly learned to stay away. George also put himself between Butterfly and Herb's goats. He didn't want any strangers messing with his sister!       

Everyone's hackles were up on this hike!
Herb's goats, Oscar and Felix, stared suspiciously at the newcomers.

Butterfly stared suspiciously at Herb's dog.

And George was ready to take on all comers. He made sure no one messed with him or his sister!

Phil just looks good standing in front of hoodoos in the sunset light.
Day 1 of our adventures: We drove out to a secluded spot that I believe Herb called "Whiskey Wash". It was filled with really cool rock formations, including this arrogant camel. 

We also spotted a very rude stone giant mooning us from above. 

We hiked up a solid stone hillside strewn with round goblin-like boulders. Goblins peered down at us from the surrounding ridge. 

Phil brought his old GoPro on the hike and I thought it would be fun to tape it to Finn's horns. Herb had some vetwrap in his pack that did the trick. The camera on Finn's head made him less photogenic, but since he's so good-looking I think he can sacrifice a little. He took a good hour or so of video but unfortunately a lot of it was of my hindquarters. 

The back side of the camel. 

I really wanted this photo in the NAPgA calendar this year, but alas it did not quite get enough votes! 

Is Finn wearing a sombrero? 

I loved this temple formation. 

I also thought this was a better calendar candidate than the one that won. Oh well. 

Hello Sputnik! 
In the shadow of the giant hoodoos.

Isn't it a little early for a break?

Pack goats for life!

Whiskey Wash.  We never found the still.

Bacchus at his best.

The hoodoo palace.

Whats the big deal?

Woodstock resting.  Again.
I don't drink beer, but if I did, I'd prefer Dos Equis.  Stay thirsty my friends!
I guess Woodstock sees this adventure as more of a relaxing vacation.

Exiting a secret canyon with its own unique look.

Bacchus wonders where the tasty weeds are.

Taking a break under a giant petrified mushroom.

The horseshoe cliff.  Protector of the lost world.

At least the edge is super solid.  No worries about overhangs here.

Saying goodbye to the hoodoos.
I don't drink beer, but if I did, I'd prefer Dos Equis.  Stay thirsty my friends!
I love the silhouette photo!
Some great photos there! How awesome is it, that friends can meet up & venture forth into such a strange & beautiful landscape, with their goats!
It's about time I continued this thread! I barely even started on the first day of hiking! As we continued on our Whiskey Wash hike, we soon encountered a strange field of flat, solid rock. It was like an ancient runway or parking lot kept clear by the wind.  

The "parking lot" became more contoured and windswept as we neared the edge. 

Phil found a nice little nook to curl up in.

Unfortunately our photos of this cool formation didn't come out well, but I have to include one anyway just because it was a really cool formation

The goats love multi-level rock shelves like this one.

Phil and I ate lunch on this narrow shelf in the shade. Herb and his goats ate on the other side of the rock since there wasn't room for all of us in any one location. Goats from different herds can be a bit territorial. Herb's dog Luna kept coming over to visit our side of the rock and I kept having to send her away. Sputnik does not like Luna and every time she came around, Sputnik would watch her like a hawk. I know he was just itching for an opportunity to pitchfork her over the side of the cliff. That would have ruined everyone's day. Except perhaps Sputnik's. 

What is Finn doing hiding back there? He's usually front and center when there are cameras pointed at him! 
Finn, catlike as always. I never tire of watching this agile goat navigating tricky terrain. He's not only graceful and athletic, but he does it with such style! 

The climax of the day's trip was the horseshoe canyon. It was simply breathtaking and strikingly unusual. 

Finn, too close to the edge as usual. 

"Please don't do that!" 

Here's the one that made it into the calendar. Very unique photo but I wish the lighting and colors were better. 

I have a hard time not taking pictures of this guy in every setting. 

Sputnik had a hard time in this spot. We'd gone down the boulder jump earlier with no problem but coming back up was a real poser for Sputnik. He's no Finn. He's not a jumper, and he's even less confident when wearing a pack. I had to scout around to help him find the easiest path, and then I had to pull on his lead to give him the "safety net" he felt he needed to make the leap. Sputnik may not be a gifted athlete, but he does the best he can with what he's got. He isn't a quitter. I appreciate his heart and attitude.    
Here are a few more bits 'n' bobs from that day's hike: 

I love the cool split in this boulder. I wonder how the edges stayed so sharp and crisp? 

Me, Phil, and Herb all had cameras out the whole day so every one of us had to toss out tons of stupid photos of each other taking photos. But this one was kinda fun. I got a new camera that takes several shots in quick succession and I was testing out the feature on Sputnik as he leapt down a ledge.  

Ready, set, ACTION!

We found a tree! 

Phil very observantly noticed a tiny little miniature stone arch in a dry ditch. It looked like an exact model of one of the big ones! We had to keep the goats away. They saw us looking down curiously into the ditch and wanted to see what was so interesting. Unfortunately goats have little appreciation for things like miniature stone arches and no doubt would have crunched it if we hadn't grabbed them.  

Phil loved this big tumbleweed. He needed his photo next to it. 
Some photos of the late lovely Bacchus for Herb: 

And one of Woodstock:

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