The Idiotic Goat




“You have to be part mountain goat and part idiot to want to try this hike.” [1] I hadn’t read this description of the Mumford Bar Trail east of Foresthill, California. However, being an idiotic goat hasn’t stopped me before. The trail has been part of my backpack “training schedule” for many years. It’s my first major day hike of the season and I love it.

I have rational reasons.  At 3225 feet above sea level the Mumford has two pluses to recommend it.  I live at 165 feet in Roseville, which means if I’m planning a backpack at between five thousand and nine thousand feet, the Mumford is a good place to adjust to elevation or acclimatize.  And, the snow melts there earlier than it does at higher elevations, so it can be accessed earlier in the year.

The trail is well-marked and the switchbacks are reasonable.  That said,  I’m sure the idiotic goat reference is to the fact that the trail drops 2720 feet in three miles mercilessly crushing toes against the inside of shoes/boots and jarring knees.  (2720 is the depth of over nine football fields.)  That’s one of the beauties of the trail.  It’s a perfect place to test muscle and endurance.  Roseville is flatland – not designed to build up those calves and thighs.   Of course, the climb out is the proverbial icing on the cake.

So, how did I do on my first serious day hike after a hip replacement?

  • Day 2 – sore from neck to ankles, but capable of walking and working on my book
  • Day 3 – I was covered with mosquito bites – little ones that itch but aren’t that bad.  My pal broke-out with huge welts immediately.  My calves knotted and cramped.  Tired  – definitely.  But ready to go again.

[1] California Hiking, The Complete Guide to 1000 of the Best Hikes in the Golden State by Tom Stienstra and Ann Marie Brown


2 responses to “The Idiotic Goat

  1. i don’t know if yu have discovered hiking with poles or not. i have been using trekking poles for years. they have really helped my knees on those long hikes. especially going downhill. i even use them on my hikes in the desert. the trick thouhg is that you have to use two poles. using just one won’t help as much as it will actuall unbalance your walking.

  2. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO–you drove right thru Foresthill to get to your trail & didn’t stop to visit your Foresthill pal???? If I had known I could have waited at the trailhead with water for you–really good Foresthill water! I would have opened my game chair that I always carry in my car, picked up a book and spent some time reading while you hiked. I tore the last of the cartlidge in my left knee about 6 weeks ago, so I wasn’t up for walking anywhere, but I would have been there waiting for you.I ‘m glad you enjoyed the trail. I know some of the old farts that put a lot of time into making that trail hikable. Is that a word?Terri

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