Of course, there comes a time in every goat packer and hiker’s life when they have clearly and undeniably made a mistake. Here is a list of the trails I’ve tried that I just can’t recommend taking a goat on, and the reasons why.
May it help others avoid the horror of realizing, five miles from the car, that they should have just left the goat at home.
PILOT MOUNTAIN STATE PARK (Pinnacle, NC)
While it is possible to get a goat on the trails at this park, due to the number of visitors and the large number of small children among those visitors I really don’t recommend this place. It won’t be a lot of fun with a goat. Instead, bring a homo sapiens with you.
HANGING ROCK STATE PARK (Danby, NC)
You can arrive, as I did, before the sun is even fully up, on a day so cold your nose freezes solid and no other self respecting North Carolinian is going to be out in the woods. It won’t help you get on these trails. Let this park keep its mountain bikers and be overrun with tourists in the summer. There are far better places to go than this one!
I was doing research for a packing trip to Michigan, (specifically the Upper Peninsula), when I came upon an issue that may make packing goats in Michigan risky enough for me to reconsider. Bovine Tuberculosis is present white tail deer in the upper part of the Lower Penisula, (the “glove” portion of the state) and in the Upper Peninsula (the strip of land that people often mistake for Canada above the glove). An estimated 2.2 cattle herds every year contract TB from white tail deer in the state, and TB is self sustaining in the wild deer population, (https://www.michigan.gov/documents/HicklingReport _no_cover_137212_7.pdf). Therefore, if you value your disease free herd status Michigan may be one to avoid. Which is a shame because the Upper Peninsula is gorgeous.
Keown Falls Trail at John’s Mountain WMA (Villanow, GA)
This trail has tight stairs and is fairly popular. I visited it sans goat to scout it and the surrounding trails out for later four hoof mayhem. But I think this one is a good one to pass on – it’s just too busy and too cramped.