Travel – Mountains of the World

Goats Do Roam – Cascades Adventure

Encounters with mountain goats

Over 40 years ago we were on a cross country trip in the Olympic National Park here in Washington. We hiked in to Flap Jack lakes and camped the first night.

On our second day, we crossed Gladys Divide, we’d dropped packs on the trail to climb the rotten rock pinnacle of Cruiser. All went well until on the descent we saw a group of mountain goats eagerly examining our packs. Alternately glissading and sliding on the mixed snow & scree slopes, we chased them off — all but 2 who were discussing the liberation of my army surplus wool pants by pulling from the cuff or each leg.

We finally convinced them to depart and I re-packed my slightly longer pants. The next part of our trip took us across several large snowfields on our cross-country traverse towards a climb of  Mt Skokomish and Mt Stone. . The goats had followed us, and kindly waited for us to break trail as they were going in the same direction. Audrey insists I carried on a conversation with the goat directly behind me, thinking it was her. We found a beautiful alpine meadow spot to camp, and hung our packs high on of the few scraggly conifers making its way in this near treeless shale ground. No sooner had we finished our dinner and retired to our sleeping bags than we were disturbed by the goats rasp-like tongues licking the outside of our tent. This went on intermittently throughout the night – we’d bang on the tent interior walls and they’d cease for awhile, but then be back.

Next morning, we got an early start, and passed the goat group, peacefully napping in the snow just above our camp.

  • Download royalty free images of Mountain goats
    Mountain goats, licking salt from climber\
    Mountain goats, licking salt from climber’s pack
    Curious Mountain goats,

    Curious Mountain goats

    Curious Mountain goats,

    Curious Mountain goats,

    Mountain goats, licking salt from climber\

    Mountain goats, licking salt from climber’s pack

    Mountain goats, licking salt from climber\

    Mountain goats, licking salt from climber’s pack

    Curious Mountain goats

    Curious Mountain goats



Blisters Dice Game

Ready to roll??

Blisters is a simple dice game.

While learning the rules, just roll the dice and see how your roll fits with these game instructions. The rules may seem complicated at first but you’ll soon see how simple they really are when you’re playing the game. The object of the game is to control the dice and accumulate points toward a high score. Since this game was invented during a six month hiking expedition, the scoring goal is usually a hiking trail’s length. We “hike” the Appalachian Trail most often when we play, a goal of 2,145 miles!

The game is played with six dice, three pair of different colors. Play is based on matching dice. The player rolls the dice, attempting to match numbers and accumulate points. Any dice that match are called scoring dice. When the number of scoring dice is two or four (a pair, two pair or four of a kind), the player has the
option of rolling the remaining non-scoring dice  or ending that turn, adding any points to their game score total. If the number of scoring dice is  uneven (three and five of a kind or a full house), the player
roll the remaining non-scoring dice.  When the player rolls the remaining dice, they’ll either roll more scoring dice or get BLISTERS. Whenever the player fails to roll scoring dice, this is called Blisters and the player loses any points from that turn.


Any dice with matching numbers are the scoring dice. If the numbers and the colors match, the score is ten times the number on one of those dice. If the numbers match but the colors do not, the score is the sum of the dice. For example; two red fives, a white four, a blue four, a blue two and a white three have been rolled. The two fives are the same color and are worth ten times the number on one of the dice or 50 points. (10 X 5) The two different color fours are worth their sum or 8 points. (4 + 4) The blue two and the white three do not match any other dice so they are worth nothing. In this example, the player has the option of rolling the non-scoring dice (the two and the three) or ending this turn and adding the 58 points to their game score total.

The player continues to control the dice until:

    • A: The total number of scoring dice is two or four (like the example above) and he/she chooses to end this turn, adding the points to the game score total.
    • B: The player fails to roll any scoring dice. (Blisters!)
    • or C: The player has 6 sixes. We’ll get to this rule later. If the player scores with all six of the dice during play, that player  must continue, adding any points gained so far to the turn total and rolling ALL six of the dice again.

Remember the difference between the game score and the turn score. The turn score is lost when the player gets Blisters during that turn. The score from previous rounds cannot be lost when the player gets Blisters.  Play continues for 5 rounds, looking to get a maximum score to enter the >Hall of  Fame.  Sometimes turns seem to last forever, other times they are over on the first roll (1,2,3,4,5,6! We call this a “primary burn”). You’ll notice patterns in scoring and gameplay, some turns may even amaze you. You can reach any goal score you choose in one turn if the luck of the dice is with you. I’ve seen a turn over 2000 miles!


Hall of Fame

Blisters rules Copyright 1993 Tim A Novak
All contents Copyright 1998 Tim A Novak and HAE.
Licensed & adapted by Steve Estvanik / Cascoly Software

Book – Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow

Cordillera Huayhuash, Siula and Yerupaja and lakeCordillera Huayhuash, Siula and Yerupaja and lake,
Cordillera Huayhuash, Siula and Yerupaja and lake,Jirishanca mountain in high Andes
Jirishanca mountain in high Andes

Panorama – Jirishanca, Yerupaja and Siula mountains
The Dark side of Extreme Adventure – Maria Coffey Losing a friend or loved one is never an easy process, but it becomes even more complex when they leave for a mountain adventure and never return. I first experienced this in the early 70’s when 3 close friends were killed while attempting Mt. Elias in Canada.

Maria Coffey examines how climbers and their families and friends cope with the devastating losses that shadow this sport.She begins with a search for why people climb in the first place, and in particular why they continue after close calls; without becoming banal, she quotes Jim Wickwire, “One of the addictive aspects of climbing is that it allows you to be in the present moment in ways that are impossible in ordinary life“.  Similar thoughts come from Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of ‘flow’ – which finds that the “enjoyment of risk comes not from the danger itself but from managing it, from the sense of exercising control in difficult situations.”

And then, there’s the ultimate mountaineering existential futility of Camus’ Sisyphus facing an “unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing… Each atom of that stone , each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world.  The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart”.The bulk of this powerful book interviews the survivors and comrades of lost climbers.  At times, its difficult to read, but the feelings expressed range from acceptance to anger and denial.  In most cases, there is a community of shared experience and values.  Whether you’re an active climber or arm chair mountaineer this book gives a much needed balance to the hyperbolic tales of expedition climbing
And for those of us who have lost people to the mountains it offers, not comfort, but a stoic acceptance.Who is the third?