Daydreaming of being in the backcountry, and envisioning those pristine high alpine lakes with breathtaking views of jagged peaks that cast shadows over winding valleys of lush green foliage. I almost can’t contain my excitement as the snow level rises and melts away. When we sat down last week to “schedule” our hikes and backpacking trips we were examining the round trip lengths, elevation gain, and type of terrain to be navigated when we realized that what we currently had were a bunch of “pasture potatoes” instead of pack goats. Our first serious hike with them is planned to be Navaho Peak: 12 miles round trip, 4300’ elevation gain, and high rocky terrain. Obviously from lounging in the pasture to climbing Navaho is a bit of a leap and they’re not even close to being ready. I’ve come up with a conditioning routine that will help build muscle and maintain a higher level of endurance. With 6 weeks before Navaho, I’ve made a point to make time for a trip down the road to the pipeline trail once a week to do 3-4 miles. The pipeline isn’t the rugged mountains, but it’s close to home, gravel, and uphill which make for a decent workout. Last weekend was the first time we tried taking them to the pipeline and there were quite a few training opportunities with the people, dogs, horses, and bikes going by. Yukon, Huck, and Pluto all did great and kept a swift pace surprisingly in the random 85 degree weather we were gifted. However, Yukon and Huck didn’t handle the heat nearly as well as Pluto and started panting at one point. After asking around the verdict of their overheating that day seems to be from the rapid change in temperature and remaining undercoat yet to be shed, I’m hoping a full body shave helps.
This was in fact a big day for Pluto, he was on the sale list due to being stubborn and unwilling to do anything for me. I don’t know if he figured out the change via my body language or if he has gone through some maturity but this was his last chance and he out did my best goat. Physically he has developed into a better looking goat as well, becoming more leggy, gaining an overstepping stride, and not having as much rounding to his hindquarters. We will see what his future brings but for now he’s off the sale list and into the string for training.
Our goal for this hiking season is to complete 100+ goat miles on backcountry trails before we get snowed out. Our primary goats in training for this will be Huck, and Yukon but after Pluto redeemed himself I may continue to bring him too. The lil’s, Rafiki and Kingsley are too small to load in the truck with the bigger boys so they will have to have separate mini trips. It will be interesting to see the change in them as we continue to do 3+ miles per week both physically and behaviorally. I will keep updating our experiences, with what works and what doesn’t, and everything inbetween.