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Goat man walking

by Kelli R. Dick

SUMMIT COUNTY – Dan Gray quit his job of 16 years to hike this summer with Elvis, Beethoven, Liberace, Einstein and his his dog, Bailey Barker.

The lobbyist turned adventurer, armed with four goats, a video camera and a dream, has hit the Colorado Trail.

Gray, 47, of Crestone, spent nearly two decades working for the Colorado Senate before trading in his suits and ties for goats and good-byes. He is spending his summer hiking the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango.

He will cross eight mountain ranges, seven national forests, six wilderness areas and five river systems. He started his journey a week ago in Denver, and passed through Summit County Monday, turning a few heads as he walked along Highway 9.

The goats are making the trip as pack animals, carrying Gray’s gear. They all have panniers on their back and tote two packs each. In those packs are the necessary rations to last three months: Food, clothing, rain gear, a sleeping bag, a radio and video camera, a few extra “goodies” and a book about Sherlock Holmes.

“This is a goal of a lifetime for me,” Gray stated, “and the goats are in seventh heaven out here.” The ruminants are eating thistle and grass along the way, and have the arguable pleasure of listening to Gray sing his trail songs. “The boys don’t need a constant source of water because they get moisture from the things they eat,” Gray said.

Gray is videotaping the entire trip with his newly purchased camera, duly named the “DanCam”, and writing in his journal every night. He hopes to use this material to make a documentary about the Colorado Trail and a possible book bid.

A typical day for Gray starts about 7 a.m., or “the first time I reach consciousness,” and then he gets up to pack. It takes him 45 minutes to gather his belongings, then he is off. He rests the goats at noon for three to four hours, then hikes again until 7 p.m., at which time he eats, writes in his journal, reads an occasional Denver Post picked up along the way and falls asleep listening to the BBC on his short-wave radio.

Barring injuries and weather conditions, Gray plans on a return date of Aug. 16, but until then he is in no hurry, content “creating chaos wherever we go.”


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