DER Documentary

Goat Packing: Through The Wind River Mountains

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by Gary Wortman
color, 50 min, 2004

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Most of us think of goats as either petting zoo favorites, cartoon staples or food, but in growing numbers America's outdoor enthusiasts are discovering them as trail companions. People-friendly pack goats have been paving the way for many to enjoy an environmentally low impact experience. We meet some of these remarkable animals as we follow 9 people and 16 goats on a challenging 8 day traverse of the Continental Divide in Western Wyoming.

Leading our way is John Mionczynski – the naturalist known as the 'father of goat-packing' and the individual credited with popularizing this unique experience. Come along as John and his goats start the hike on a trout filled lake. Once above the tree line we keep our eyes on signs of mountain sheep and their predators as we scramble across imposing boulder fields and trod through quickly melting snow. Along the way John shares his unique knowledge of the native plants and animals of this habitat.

At 13,000 ft. we cross the Continental Glacier. Here we discover a vast boulder field in an area that had been covered by the Glacier just eight years ago. Further evidence of its diminishing size is a glacier lake – once frozen within the glacier, now flowing freely at its top. These Rocky Mountain glaciers, which have existed at least 15,000 years as the source of the rivers and underground water table of the Great Plains, are disappearing in our lifetime.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Best Cinematography, Washington DC Peer Awards, 2000
Silver Award, 34th World Fest, Houston Texas, 2000
Honorable Mention, 8th Annual Twin Rivers Media Festival, 2000

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts