year of the goat



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TRAVEL * ADVENTURE * GOATS

March 20, 2004 | Goats on a Wire
Navajo Goatherd
Navajo goatherd, Mac King, brings his brother-in-law's goats home at the end of the day in Cameron, Arizona
When you spend 8 months on the road researching goats, you begin to notice the capricious creatures everywhere: in movies, in magazines, even in electrical equipment. We first noticed the power lines somewhere in Texas. They looked like the biggest goats we had ever seen: metal girders and wires making the shape of a triangular head, ears, and even little horns on top. Everywhere we went we began to notice the giant metal goats carrying electricity all over the land. I was waiting for a dramatic landscape and beautiful light to photograph them, and driving through Arizona, approaching the Grand Canyon as the sun was setting, I got my chance.
I shot for a few minutes, headed back to the car, and then something made me turn around for one more shot. Iím not sure what made me turn aroundÖ I think I just wanted to make a few more images. As I was looking through my lens, I noticed something moving under the power lines. Goats! A line of goats and sheep marched across the landscape followed at quite a distance by a Navajo man. I took a few pictures, and then jumped back in the car. We found an access road that went under the power lines and made an intercept course to head off the goats.

We had come to Arizona in part to research the tradition of goats in Navajo culture, so it was exciting to see someone actually herding them. The manís name was Mac King, and he lived in a small compound on the side of the highway with his family and extended family. The goats and sheep belonged to his brother-in-law, but it was Macís job to let them out in the morning, and to go get them in the afternoon. Mac wasnít too specific about what the goats were used forÖ they were just there. I, for one, was just glad that we were there to see them. —KS



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