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Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

Cheeky, Bastard Goat

The sky was clear and we could see for miles and miles in every direction. My friend Renae and I were sitting on top of one of the highest peaks in the Wasatch range, Timpanogos. It felt like we were on top of the world. Peak after peak stretched out to the North and South. Utah lake shimmered to the West surrounded by tiny, bustling cities that looked like play things so far away. The peaceful, calm air was intoxicating as we sat and drank in the view. Though under the bliss, I could hear the grumble of my tired legs and Renae looked flat-out exhausted.

“Well, we made it,” I said, smiling wryly.

“I can’t believe it.” Renae answered back, triumph in her eyes. We had been hiking for the last 4 hours. I stood up slowly and started to stretch out the soreness that had begun to settle in my body. It was time to get a move on.

We shrugged on our backpacks and began to hike down the trail, careful to not slip on the loose rocks. It was a busy trail. It seemed that everyone and their dog wanted to hike Timp on the weekends. Which means you had to be even more careful as you stepped to not knock lose any rocks which could hit hikers below. We made good progress and finally got to a steep section with a bunch of short switchbacks. Here there was even more loose, shale-y rock, so our steps were extra deliberate as there was a trio of hikers below us.

Suddenly, I heard a crack, and whipping my head towards the mountain, saw a shower of stone hurtling towards us. Shock flooded my body and my brained whirled – HOLY SHIT! HOLY SHIT! HOLY SHIT!

Instinct kicked in, and I hunched over, tucking Renae under me, slamming our bodies as close to the rock wall as was humanly possible. Rocks bounced off my pack crashing down the mountain, the noise deafening. Confusion swirled with all of the noise, dust, and pounding on my back. It was hard to breathe from being bent over. Time slowed down, and thoughts raced through my head.

 Were the hikers below us getting hit? Was I getting hit? Yes, I could feel the rocks striking my pack. Was Renae ok? The rocks keep coming . . . why won’t it stop??  

And then it was over. Just like that, the rocks stopped. I lifted my head a little to peak above, but they really had stopped. We started to move gingerly, bewildered. Renae sat down looking dazed as one of the hikers below began to yell, “Who did this?! Who is up there?!” Visibly shaken, she demanded to know who had been so careless.

“Who did this?? How dare you?!” she shouted again. There was a rustle from above. In disbelief, we all looked up, and to our surprise a furry head poked out. Two black eyes glanced at us as if to say, “Oh! I didn’t see you there.”

A goat. A damn goat. A damn goat who peaked over the edge to see why we were yelling, who hadn’t thought twice about some moving rocks. A damn goat had caused the rock slide. We looked at each other in shock as the dust began to settle.

“What the hell just happened?” I breathed, shaking my head. But you really can’t stay mad at a goat, honestly.  So we started to talk and move, assessing for injuries. Between everyone there were two concussions, and one very sore arm. Miraculously, not one rock had hit me directly – just my pack. A hiker came along the trail, and helped us make a sling for the arm. They also called Search and Rescue (SAR), who helped off the mountain to safety where an ambulance awaited at the trailhead. Luckily, no one was seriously injured.

I remember the look of surprise on the face of the first SAR volunteer when I told him how it had all happened.

“Well, that was some cheeky, bastard goat!” He said.

And I couldn’t agree more.

Woman receiving medical treatment and smiling at camera

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