Custer Tries Ice Climbing

Just a short video about Custer and ice climbing. Click on either image to see the video.

For more information please see www.blackhillspackgoats.com or www.over-the-hills.com.


Country Barn or Jungle Gym?

Either way, the Black Hills Pack Goats held their own "Topping Out" ceremony for their new barn. They conducted the ceremony the only way cliff dewellers know how... they climbed all over it. Click on the picture of Sturgis out on point to see the video. For more information see http://www.blackhillspackgoats.com/ and http://www.over-the-hills.com/.


Another fine mess Custer wants to get us in to.

He's at it again. Here's Custer flanked by his two triplet brothers Sturgis and Harney. He is trying to convince them they could all down-climb that cliff, but he'll be nice and let them go first. Sylvan, having seen Custer sucker his brothers in to these stunts before, is walking away so not to be anywhere near Custer's latest mischief.
In the other photo Custer is upstaging my attempt to photograph Bear Butte 20 miles away. It is a sacred mountain just east of the town of Sturgis. (The town was named after our pack goat Sturgis.)
It was a great day for a training hike for the Black Hills Pack Goats and they loved it. Patches of snow, clear-air visibility, 25deg-F, and no wind. For more information please see http://www.blackhillspackgoats.com/ and http://www.over-the-hills.com/.


Barn Spa

It has been near 0-degF the past couple nights. But don't let it be said the Black Hills Pack Goats have it tough. Here is Harney lounging on "Muscle Bench" giving himself a pedicure. Meanwhile Custer naps snuggled up to a warm rock heated by the afternoon sun. Later, Custer, Harney, Sylvan and Sturgis (l to r) feast on fresh third-cut alfalfa at the all-you-can-eat entre' feed station. At the desert bar bins on their right, afternoon treats will include steam-softened oats sauteed in a sweet molasses sauce, Goat Food nuggets enriched with protein complex, and Calf Mana carbo-loading supplement for fuel on this evening's hike, which will be catered by Kate and Lee with warmed milk delivered trail-side in individual bottles topped with silicon lamb-udder nipples. In the background behind the quartet in the blue bucket is heated water spiced with just a hint of sweetened cranberry juice. To their left is a bunker made of 15" thick straw bales surrounding a 8" thick bed of fresh straw to keep out those nasty shivering north winds during the wee hours. And the kitties, rescued from desease and famine at a farm a month ago...let's just say they seem to be toughing it out reasonably well. If you, too, would like to move in to the Black Hills Pack Goats spa and barn, please see http://www.blackhillspackgoats.com/ and http://www.over-the-hills.com/. But it's not as glamorous as it seems. Come Monday at 6AM the Black Hills Pack Goats face revelie, with a two mile hike and cliff climbing in full field packs, all before breakfast.


Pack Goats' First Away-From-Home Training Hike

We trucked up and drove the young goats to their first away-from-home hike. The trail has been one of our own favorites for years. Goats are the most curious mammals we have ever known. The young kids were immediately excited to run around and experience all the new sights and stimuli.

It was also their first experience with ground water and streams. Goats are supposed to abhor walking in water. Of course it was Gen. Custer who, as his namesake proves again, is quick to try any conquest and lead his colleagues to join him.

For more information please see BlackHillsPackGoats.com and Over-the-Hills.com.


The Sky Bison is back in the air !

Yippie !!! We're back in business and taking aerial-photographs of anything that moves (or not).

After six months, the Sky Bison's lair is finally complete. We went for a long-delayed spin around the pattern so she could get re-acquainted with her home Sky.

For more information please see www.SkyBison.com and www.over-the-hills.com.


Return of the Cliff Dwellers

Those pesky critters are back, after three months at their goatpacking bootcamp and after playing countless hours of "king of the cliff." They are nearly ready to become Black Hills Pack Goats for 2008. For more information please see www.BlackHillsPackGoats.com, www.over-the-hills.com and www.youtube.com/skybison


Pack Goats were designed by grandchildren (Part 2)

Another family stopped by to help with with chores. Snacks for the Black Hills Pack Goats and hugs for the cats.

...except Harney the goat wanted to re-negotiate who got cookies and who got the hugs, after he gulped down his fig cookie and saw a cat getting hugged in stead of him.


Pack Goats were designed by grandchildren (Part 1)

Today we were excited to have new friends come visit. The two youngsters and their mom and dad hiked with us in the forest for 1/2 mile then we fed the goats their bottles. The goats also showed everyone two 30-ft. deep caves we found last week in the cliffs just a few hundred yards from the house.


Playing a South Dakota stringed instrument by ear

Our new friend Dave stopped by during archery hunting season to give us private lessons in mastering his favorite stringed instrument, the hunting bow. Note Kate playing it "by ear."

Dave is a high-tech savvy hunter: fiber optic sights, light weight carbon fiber noise canceling bow, full-pull force relaxation, 12-second self-erecting blind, LED-lighted arrows so he can retrieve arrows after dark, after his hunting partners can get their shots off too. He is a natural teacher, too. But most of all, Dave is an expert on deer behavior.

For more information about Over-the-Hills Adventures in the Black Hills of South Dakota, please visit http://www.over-the-hills.com/ or call us at (605)863-0806.



Fall Chores

I had been waiting all year for a chance to put in a fence across the back acreage boundary with the National Forest. Near there, Kate had unearthed a large rock a year ago and was anxious to move it the few hundred yards to the goat corral for play time. Things went great until the final ten feet when Kate's work was supervised by one dog, two cats and three goats. For more information please visit http://www.over-the-hills.com/ or call us at 605.863.0806.


Moving on Up

Black Hills Pack Goats is moving on up and on its way! Custer is ready to pack out 1 box of kleenex and three helium balloons. . . . but it's progress!


Sylvan Goes Postal

Well, fellow pack goat folks said this day would come. This morning Sylvan took me on. (Bringing in to question whether the surgery 3 days ago really did 'finish the job.')

I had decided today was the day to begin more rigorous enforcement of civility and discipline among the clamorous, demanding goats while each waited his turn to bottle feed. I had to get pretty rough. Nay, brutal. That's when Sylvan refuted his namesake. He did not agree with my decision on which order to feed the goats. (That is a huge topic in all goats' social structure.)

After I pushed Sylvan away harshly at one point and shouted "Get back!" he stared me in the eye while back stepping slowly, methodically, about 4 paces. With each slow step backward he stared more sternly at me lowering his head more each step. Then he raised his head in a wind-up motion, and lunged. I mean reeeelly lunged. Butted my leg hard!

I knew the time had come. This must be addressed immediately, firmly. I sat down, threw him down on his side next to me, covered his neck with my leg and held his legs with my hands. He went nuts. Shouting to his brothers. "Hey! See this? Goat abuse. This guy's gone nuts. Get him off me!" He screamed and hollered, pushed, pulled and strained, then bleated out some more dieing screams. He was suffering a violent death (of embarrassment) and wanted the entire planet to know it. But I held on tight so he could not move. This must be taken to its conclusion, or he'd be heck to deal with later. His three brothers crowded around pushing and shoving, confused and frightened.

After three minutes Sylvan regained his namesake. He relented, relaxed and rested. Went absolutely limp. I petted and rubbed him a couple minutes then let him up.

He was a new Sylvan.

In fact, the whole darn bunch of them just acted different on the hike we started on right then. My colleagues were right...it helps to do it in front of the others.

Anyway, Sylvan and I got along fine. He was gentle and responsive. He was suddenly Mr. Charming. His fall hunting-season fashion-wrap amplified the effect. Here's some pictures of Sylvan on the hike this morning after he and I discussed the leadership hierarchy.

For more information about Pack Goats and Over-the-Hills Adventures go to http://www.over-the-hills.com/


Goats' Fall Hunting Outfits

Each October and November the hunting seasons return. That is when we see the return of crack shot eagle eye hunters who shoot horses out from under cowboys, Mercury Cougars on the freeway, each other, and goats! This year the Pack Goats dressed up for hunting season. Of course wiley old Sherlock by now knows the ways of the fall forest and was wearing her fall fashion statement already. On the way back we sited a rainbow over Piedmont Butte. It really was this bright, not edited.

Welcome to our Over-the-Hills Adventures Blog

Over-the-Hills Adventures is a small family enterprise providing unique outdoor adventures in the Black Hills, on the South Dakota/Wyoming border. Our three primary activities are:

This blog is an informal record of behind=the=scenes events going on at Over-the-Hills. It's an un-edited, candid view in to what it's like living in the National Forest of the Black Hills.

The formal gallery of edited photography and videos is at http://www.over-the-hills.smugmug.com/.

Please post replies to this blog. We want to hear from you. Or send email to info@over-the-hills.com or call 605.863.0806.

-Lee Alley