For Billy Goat, the trail is his destination
For those of you who didn't see the front page of today's Times, there's a fantastic Column One article about an inspirational 69-year-old hiker who's been something of a legend on the Pacific Crest Trail for years now. His name is George Woodard, but he prefers going by his trail name, Billy Goat. The following excerpt says it all:
Billy Goat has hiked more than 32,000 miles — which would have taken him around the world and a third of the way again. He has walked across the South and the Southwest, the Northeast and the West. He has crossed the Rocky Mountains on four occasions, twice in each direction. He has conquered the so-called triple crown of American hiking — the Appalachian, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest trails — multiple times.
He has a wife, his third, and a home in Nevada. That is where George, the 69-year-old retired railroad worker, would live if Billy Goat cared to be George. Billy Goat lives more than 10 months of the year outdoors, drinking unfiltered water from streams, eating vacuum-sealed meals he prepares himself, sleeping under the stars without a tent. He carries what he needs in a backpack weighing less than 10 pounds.
"I'm not on vacation. I'm not out for a weekend," he said, settling in for the night under a fire-scarred tree next to a gurgling creek and surrounded by the rugged granite outcroppings of the Dome Land Wilderness. "This is where I live. When you do that, all the other trappings of life fade away."
Photo and video by Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times