3 men rescue goat from ditch in Flat Tops Wilderness
Chris Bailey, of Clark, and Brian Gleason, a visitor from Florida, couldn’t wait to drive home to enjoy a cold beer and warm meal after a long day of hiking.
The two had just finished the Devil’s Causeway trail in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, west of Yampa, their first hike of the season, and were exhausted but ecstatic as they came closer to the trailhead parking lot.
When the men were about five minutes away from their car, a woman approached them with what the two described as a look of panic.
“I need help,” the woman said as she asked the men to drive her into a zone with cellphone service so she could contact Routt County Search and Rescue.
“When you’re in the middle of the wilderness and someone asks you to call search and rescue, that means it’s pretty serious,” Bailey said.
As the men sought more information, the woman told them her 300-pound goat fell in a ditch and she, along with her company of a 68-year-old woman and two children, were unable to pull it out by themselves.
“If someone’s asking for your help and you know they’re sincere, we’re not going to say no and go back home,” Gleason said. “It looked very serious.”
Wanting to help the woman, who had raised the goat since it was just a few weeks old, the two men ran to their Jeep, grabbed a series of straps and recruited another man who had just pulled up to the trailhead.
Together, the three placed a strap around the goat, grabbed the animal by its horns and started to pull it up from the ditch. With two pulling the straps and another pushing the horns, the goat was able to be freed after several minutes.
“It was as rewarding and satisfying for us as it was for her to get the animal out,” Gleason said. “It’s the feeling that you made a difference in someone’s life and you saved a life.”
Gleason and Bailey also felt the timing of their presence was helpful, as the two run Ironman Triathlons and are used to lifting heavy weights.
“If something like that doesn’t make you feel good as a person, I don’t know what does, and that’s why we did it,” Bailey said.
Though Gleason and Bailey said they were happy to help the woman, they did not understand how one could have denied someone in such a distressing situation.
“We’re not trying to be heroes, we just did it because she asked and she needed help,” Gleason said. “You don’t say no when someone’s asking you for help like that.”
Bailey has four dogs and Gleason has one, so the men understood how an animal can feel like family, and watching a pet be in such a perilous situation can take a large emotional toll.
“Too often, people take the life of an animal and its very rewarding to know that you saved one,” Gleason said. “It was a life and if we went the route of calling search and rescue, it could get dark soon and time is of the essence.”
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