Thursday, August 7, 2014

Waterton Lakes National Park: Goat Lake Trail

More Rides on the Wild Side

Eric and Jackie descending the Goat... Day 2.
Day two of our horseback ride in Waterton Lakes National Park dawned, and after the exhilaration of Avion Ridge, we were excited about riding from Snowshoe Cabin to Goat Lake. 

As we rode, we passed bikes locked to Engleman spruce at the base of the ascent. Cyclists transformed into hikers to walk up the Goat Trail. Everyone shared greetings when we rode by.

Suddenly, the trail opened to expose the reason why Alpine Stables’ expedition guide, Josh Watson, had not ridden here with guests for four years.

A sheer talus slope greeted us, plunging its way downhill.

The narrow trail clung to the mountainside: to our right, our shoulders would almost brush the cliff face in places.

Off we rode, wondering how we would make it. My horse, Major, slowed his gait, picking his way carefully along the angled trail. Suddenly, we halted.

Josh said, “Dismount, everyone! There’s a big rock here that the horses will have to jump. So get off, take the rains right to their end. Now? Walk ahead of your horses and take care not to get in their way.”


So? We did just that... And, after negotiating the ascent and having lunch at pretty Goat Lake (with mountain goats as company...) we then faced the descent. 

As all mountain hikers know, the descents are a lot more scary... But? We all made it.

Now? I long to return to do The Goat again.

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