Let’s Goat!

Hiking in Carson City with High Sierra Pack Goats

Written by local Shelby Holte

High Sierra Pack Goats

High Sierra Pack Goats on Prison Hill

Picture this: you’re 117 miles into the Tahoe Rim Trail. You’ve been hiking for two weeks straight, and while you’re catching the views of a lifetime, you’re pretty tired. What started out as a hot spot on your right heel has turned into a full blown blister, and you’re a bit dehydrated from carrying only just enough water. Let’s face it—your shoulders can only take so much. You’re on a steep incline, hungry for your summit trail snack when suddenly, you hear…a goat in this distance?

This prompts you to take a big gulp of water, because you’re either about to have a wildlife encounter, or you’re hallucinating.

Shelby Holte takes a selfie with Sharkey the goat.

You peer up towards the summit to see a goat perched valiantly on a rock above the trail only to see that he’s wearing—yes—a goat backpack. That’s not your average goat, and no you’re not hallucinating. His name is Oatcake, and he’s the sentry guard of High Sierra Pack Goats.

You see, Jodie, owner and founder of HSPG beat you to the summit because her highly trained and trail savvy pack of goats shares the weight of carrying her trail supplies. Don’t despair, tired hiker: These goats are for hire here in Carson City.

We had the incredible opportunity to hike with this very pack recently, and let me tell you, it was a one-of-a-kind

experience. Upon arriving at the trail head, Jodie will give you both a safety brief, and a roll call of each goat in the pack and their role on your hike.

Bosco, the pack leader, makes his presence known with his tall posture and commanding presence. Jon Snow is known to pick a favorite person in each group and stay near them with the sweetest companionship. Oatcake, as we discussed, keeps a lookout over the trail to ensure everyone is safe. There’s even a baby pack goat, Stoic, in training who comes to learn from the big kids. Pun intended.

Before you ask, yes. There is absolutely a designated selfie goat. Sharkey lives for the camera.

How did this awesome company get started?

Local owner and founder of High Sierra Pack Goats, Jodie, is an avid hiker and cyclist. As she puts it, adventure is in her soul. She has cycled coast to coast of the United States three times, but when an injury cut her run of the Pacific Crest Trail slightly short of completion, Jodie knew she needed a companion to keep her safe on the trail and take some of the weight off her feet.

Enter: the pack goats. Together, they completed all 165 miles of the Tahoe Rim Trail. Today, you can hike up to 8 miles with them here in Carson City along the beautiful Carson River. People ages 13 and up are invited to enjoy sweeping views of Prison Hill and the Carson range without the weight of carrying water, snacks, cameras, or supplies! We’ve truly never heard of a better scenario.

How to book a tour

Hikes with High Sierra Pack Goats can be booked here. Be sure to tag us in your goat loving adventures, you’ll find us on social as @visitcarsoncity. Watch the video below for more details on our favorite pack.