I went on my first hike with the 4-H Pack Goat group on Sunday.  If the housing market wasn’t such a horror show, I’d put my house on the market right now and buy land so I could have goats.  LOVED the goats.  So ornery.  And we know I love an ornery critter.  Brian, our fearless leader, was having trouble with his usual goatmobile, so he showed up in a rental van full of goats:

this picture never stops cracking me up.

I popped in the front to scratch their ears and whoooo-WEE it was stinky in there.  I was imagining the next person to rent the van saying “DAY-UM, smells like they were hauling goats in here, jeez!”  But I think the picture would make an awesome U-Haul ad

While the goats were tied up, waiting for us to go, hikers kept showing up at the trail head and chatting with us about the goats.  To a person, they each said,”Well THAT’S not something you see on the trail every day.   One woman said “Um, your goat!” and pointed.  Oreo, the oldest of the goats, was ripping all the notices off the trail head bulletin board and eating them.  “This is crap.  That is a lie.  Nonsense. Ranger Propaganda…”

The kids got a talk about toxic plants we’d encounter along the way.  Apparently mountain laurel is really toxic to goats and it is EVERYwhere at the park.  In bloom and gorgeous, but toxic.  So the goats all had to wear little muzzles.  They were not amused by them.  Oreo kept trying to sneeze his off. Probably to eat some more park notices.  Especially the ones about toxic plants.

This is Oreo.

The trail was fun with the goats.  There were two baby goats along and they’d periodically just pop up into the air and kick their heels.  Just joyous to be out in a new place.  Oreo was the leader, but he’d periodically just lay down.  Not all the way, like he was actually tired, just part of the way, making it clear that he was just being a jerk.  He’d squat there until the other goats started to get ahead of him and then he’d lurch up and trot to the front.  Loved him.

His handler kept saying “Oh, he’s not usually like this!” and swearing he was the Best Pack Goat Ever.  It really cracked me up to hear the girls (there are boys in the club, but they weren’t there) bragging about their goats and playing up their brilliance.  It hit me that it was like Pony Club–only for the slightly odd girls.  And by odd, of course, I mean awesome.

Julianna and Lotte:

taking a break

We stopped a few times, since most of the goats were new to this and the old hands had had a lot of time off.  near the top of the trail, we stopped in a little clearing for a while and the girls chatted and cuddled the goats.

Next month, Julianna is going to go to a weekend goat gathering in Ohio.  I’m hosting a party that day, so I have to miss it.  I’m sorry to miss the camp.  but not so much the van ride.