Tale of the Trail – An Unexpected Adventure!

An early Spring Day, April 18, 2016, and time for our first bike of the year on the beloved Air Line Trail (ALT). My wife Ann and I commenced our journey and unexpectant “Trail Tale” at Cook Hill Road in Lebanon. Onto our bikes with snacks in tow, we happily head east toward Windham where we planned to pick up a prescription at Willimantic Pharmacy.

Down the bumpy slope from our start point, we gaze north and stop almost immediately to take in the dramatically beautiful Cook Hill Farm. Undulating spring-green grassed hills with white cows dotting its peak with a brilliant blue sky adorning the background, we pause, amazed at this incredibly scenic site! Onward we head, only to be stopped by the next trail sight…an expansive trail-side marsh with a bench inviting us to stay and take in the occasional music of spring peppers and the avian ballet of migrating swallows.

Quietly, in awe, we wonder how these aerial acrobats fly in such perfect group harmony. Ok, let’s get riding. Along we go chatting and taking in the invigorating fresh spring air. Then, in the far distance, there is on-trail activity…huh, looks like some animals on the trail, maybe dogs? Closing in on the activity, we see someone walking towards us. We finally intersect with the walker and “his” baby goats!? We ask the walker, “are these your pets?” As we chat, the now several baby goats playfully tug, and tug again, at the walker’s shoe laces, but shoes!! So cute!

However, the somewhat perturbed walker did not know who these babies belonged to and had to be on his way. Stunned in place, we wondered what do we do? It was approaching 4 in the pm and we did not wish for the baby goats to follow the unconcerned walker further astray and perhaps get lost or left on the trail at night unprotected and maybe become vulnerable as prey. Hmmm, let’s think.

Knowing there was a road shortly ahead of us (Village Hill Road) with imminent drivetime traffic looming, we decide that Ann should seek guidance of a neighbor while I stay behind and baby sit the young-uns. So off Ann goes as I totally enjoy the company of all these innocent creatures, all so interested in me now! With their interest beginning to wane, the goats sought whatever is green along the trail as a tasty treat. As the minutes ticked away quickly, I was wondering, where is Ann? We need to do something about this potentially unsafe situation.

Ok, more time ticking away, but Ann is now back with news from a neighbor that another neighbor was made aware of their escaped goats’ situation. He would arrive home in about ½ hour or so. After getting the attention of our new furred friends, they acquiesce and begin to follow us towards Village Hill. Oh no, some of our friends see a fresh green grass field dinner invitation right along the trail through some bushes.

One after the other they accept the invitation and head to their dream dining opportunity. Of course, now as their new guardians, we follow and await arrival of the owner. We happily guard and eventually get to pet all these baby goats as they merrily ate. I thought, this was one of the most fun things I have ever done! Time to take some pics. The owner arrives to call them back home…no way are these goats leaving their dinner date! So, we had to pick up goat after goat, with some obeying and following us, carrying them through the field, across the street, down a long winding driveway and finally to their enclosure. Fun over for the goats! We accomplished our good deed! Knowing they were now safely home, time to recommence our ride. But it is now late, well after 5pm, and no time to make it to the pharmacy. Oh well, I’ll get my Rx another day!

Submitted by Frank Zitkus
Town of Hebron