Hiking the goat trails

In Pisco Elqui, a little villiage North of Santiago, Drew and I followed our friend Ben, (a fearless leader) literally up the side of a gravel mountain.  Rocks showered down from our feet as we tiptoed across narrow passages the goats had left to relieve us from making our own way through the impossible sand and dust.  This was, surprisingly enough, the first time I had ever found myself clinging to the steep edge of a mountain with nothing stable for my feet or hands, shoes filling with pebbles and rocks with every effort to gain height.   Nothing stable that is, except for the goat trails.  I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to come across a goat trail in the midst of a scramble I can only describe as determined and pathetic, straight up loose gravel and plant-less dust.

How do these little goats do it, and how fragile am I that I cannot on my own, without their little hoofed feet to make the way before me?

These little creatures have taken a desert mountain and made it their habitat, despite pumas, drought, and gravity.

And what else did we find on the side of this harshly demanding mountain?

Bunnies.

Who can master the toughest of desert mountain hikes?  The answer is this: goats and bunnies.

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