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Author Topic: A Different Kind of Animal for Us, Taighee Nat'l Forest, Idaho  (Read 73 times)

fargos handmaiden

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 ;D ....Pack Goats!!  Well, little ones....two of our own babies wearing training packs.  No horses this time... God help us if we had had to wind our HEAVY old steel three horse trailer plus the weight of Fargo, big broad Moonshine and Speedy up and down 10% road grade...yes, I said 10% grades in those mountains!

Instead it was the F250, the not so aerodynamic truck camper and a homemade goat trailer built in 3 days on the back of a Home Depot 4x6 lawn equipment trailer with 12" tires, scary enough, thank you!

It was for a NaPga (North American Pack Goat Association) annual training event.  Great info, absolute beautiful country and a wonderful break from the 97-104 degrees here at home. Salt of the earth people like I never met before.

We arrived 1 1/2 days early and stayed 2 days after all others had left to enjoy the forest.  It was absolute boondogging.  We got thru that pretty well, new experience.  We took our two little guys in training, Frankie, a 5-month-old kiko and Blackie, a 14 month-old Nubian wether, in their training packs with our cooking gear and water in their packs.  They did so well, I couldn't believe it.  They followed us everywhere without any ropes.  Water was a challenge.  I didn't know Blackie could outleap a gazelle if it meant keeping his feet dry  :) but he can!  He was finally good though and went thru one of the last ones like a pro.

The first day on trail with them, we took them without their backpacks and the two found a scary big log over a water way with branches sticking out everywhere they enjoyed winding in and out of.  Second day with packs they were sure eyeing that log again.  I held my breath as I kept telling them "uh-uh!!!" I could just see them catching their packs on that thing and hanging upside down from the log over the 7-10 foot drop into the creek bed!  Luckily and to my amazement they listened....whew!!!

Until we found the horse park in Waco, we have not been able to find water to practice in without alligator warnings over murky water.  While leading "cabrito(?)...I don't think so.... So I was especially proud they went over/thru water at all, though reluctantly.

Our little 67 lb. kiko and 86 lb. nuby were sure small potatoes to the packers there with mature seasoned pack goats.  Monsters!  I never saw goats as big as those.  But we aren't going to be carrying 90 lbs. of elk meat out of a mountain top somewhere so I figure our little guys should mature at 135-170 lbs, should do well enough for us. Plenty to carry supplies and food for maybe 1 to 2 days backpacking in wilderness.

After the crowd left, the wildlife began to make their presence known a little more.  Second day we heard the coyotes and an elk bleating which was really neat.  We didn't see the grizzlies or black bear, which was ok with me!

Some of these people were real serious mountaineers/hunters.  Their physical fitness made us really look like couch potatoes and indeed we got a ways to go to get fitter to try this again.  One man, 77, was still doing this.  Wow!

At any rate, best vacation we ever had.  Boy, did we hate to come home to flat central Texas and 100 degrees again!  We are determined to go again next year.
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KysaSD

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Re: A Different Kind of Animal for Us, Taighee Nat'l Forest, Idaho
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2018, 08:57:23 pm »

Good for you, Connie
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Kysa, South Dakota, 2 Mountain Horses, and a Mini, yes, I am crazy!

loneelk

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Re: A Different Kind of Animal for Us, Taighee Nat'l Forest, Idaho
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2018, 06:22:14 am »

I had no idea goats could be pack animals.  Sounds like an exciting adventure.
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Val & Gunner, hittin' the trails in southern NM
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kckc

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Re: A Different Kind of Animal for Us, Taighee Nat'l Forest, Idaho
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2018, 07:51:32 am »

wow now that sounds like an adventure
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fargos handmaiden

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Re: A Different Kind of Animal for Us, Taighee Nat'l Forest, Idaho
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2018, 08:29:20 am »

Thanks, Kysa. For those not familiar with goats as pack animals, just enter pack goats in the youtube search engine. Lots amazing examples. Unlike mules and llamas, the goats follow without ropes like a faithful dog leaving your hands free to climb or use hiking sticks. You don't need to carry food on the trail for them. They grab browse as they follow. Some put as much as 70-90 lbs on the monster-sized ones but I think that is way too much but I'm a newbie and green as grass so don't listen to me. Seems like most packers average 2 pack goats per person with often a few youngsters in the string training as replacements. Seems.they only have about 6 Years actual full-pack-weight years as they can't carry a full load until they are 3-4 years old.

We are.experimenting with our breeding buck who we just happened to bottle raise 3 years ago and really needs to be replaced or we.will have too much inbreeding at this point. He has just been doing his own thing since weaning him but last two days we discovered he still leads pretty darn well on lead rope and really enjoys interaction. We hope to take him to the horse park this wèek with Blackie and Frankie and see if we can get.this strong boy into the water and other tests. If so, we.hope to shop for another buck and have him castrated for a pack animal almost ready for full packing. He is probably around 175 lbs. so could carry a good deal in less.than a year. We still have a long weight for full loads on Blackie and Frankie.
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stablemind

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Re: A Different Kind of Animal for Us, Taighee Nat'l Forest, Idaho
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2018, 01:07:45 pm »

I love hiking almost as much as riding horses. This sounds like a lot of fun!
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