Goats and Compression Socks

Meet Cuyler:

Hiking Guru, Pack Goat Trainer, High Adventure Girl Scout Leader, Team Builder, and Trailblazer.


She is the one who taught me to love hiking. Through her knowledge, experience, patience, and encouragement, I learned hiking wasn’t about rushing from point A to B as fast as you can. Hiking was meant to be enjoyed step-by-step; allowing the beauty of the surroundings to completely envelop your entire being. She introduced me to quality light-weight equipment, trekking poles, and the essentials of a good fitting backpack.

She also invited me to be part of a hiking trip to Switzerland! Yes, I will forever be in her debt!


She and her husband raise and train pack goats to carry extra supplies as needed on backpacking trips. Each goat can comfortably carry about 35 pounds. Not only are they useful, but they’re very entertaining as well. Eating whatever is in reach of their mouths on the trail, there is never any need to bring their own food. They seriously eat anything. Including packs. So one must be watchful. And they love to cuddle up right next to you anytime you sit down. Being cuddled by a stinky, horned creature is not exactly my idea of comfort; but it is nice to be loved. And even nicer to have extra supplies literally off your back onto theirs!

To learn more about Cuyler, her pack goats, and her unique Girl Scout troop, visit: NAZ Today (youtube)

Now, what do compression socks and goats have to do with each other? Nothing really, I just had both on my mind. I’m sure by the time I finish this article I’ll find a way to connect the two, though.

If one must wear compression socks, why not look stylish? Or even sporty, like a soccer player?! No reason at all. So, I decided to give these a try to see if they prevent that odd rash I occasionally get around my ankles. I put them on and gave them a trial run around the house.



They felt great, almost massage like. I took them off several hours later and as you can see, they left a lovely pattern engraved into my skin.


I’m not sure if this is normal or not. Deep etchings and clear enough to read the brand name? Is this an advertising strategy? If so, it went terribly wrong. Before you start a fund for my reconstructive surgery, I can cheerfully announce all signs of branding disappeared by morning. Phew!

Now for the question to connect the two themed article:

Should I wear these ever again? Or should they become a snack for the goats?


Human Fiber Deb

Should humans be protected from being used in experiments with ultralight backpacking needs?

Dee and I have been attending free classes at REI as part of our training program. We took a map and compass class, in which we learned all about topography, backstops, declination, triangulation, and how to put “the shed in the red” or “the dog in the house”. I felt like a pro learning cool ways to say “set your direction”. I can’t wait for the advanced (but not free) class coming up soon. Though Dee will be more ready than I will, as she took meticulous notes during the basic class, while I just sat nodding and smiling like I completely understood everything. Totally not true.

The last class we attended was “Lightweight Backpacking”. I felt like I already knew most of what was being covered, then the instructors excitedly started talking about this up and coming material that was going to revolutionize lightweight backpacking. I perked up immediately! “What is this amazing material called?” someone in the class asked. “Human Fiber” came the reply. Wait, what…?

Human Fiber?! Is this some sort of population control?

I became so distracted by disturbing thoughts of what exactly this “human fiber” was, that I could no longer focus on the class. I wondered what experiments had been held; either in the morgue or on live participants; and whether they were legal, moral, or even allowed to be discussed. Then pictures were displayed on a large screen of people wearing backpacks made of this human fiber! My thoughts were quickly turning into a nightmarish, horror movie plot.

Have outdoor enthusiasts become so obsessed with reducing their load that they are okay with people conducting experiments on human fiber? And what part of a human contains this miracle fiber?

As soon as the class ended I rushed home; completely disturbed, yet sickly curious as to how many miles one must hike before feeling it’s acceptable and rational to trade in a 3 lb backpack for a 8 oz human fiber sack?

A Google search for ” human fiber ” only led me to laxative ads.  Perhaps even google wasn’t aware of what the hiker community was up to. I re-entered a more specific search “human fiber used in lightweight backpacking top secret experiments”.  This time the search engine was equipped with enough info to take me to what must be a top-secret Internet site. Yes! There was the picture, there was the name of the company producing these human sourced packs, and wait… What the heck?

Ohhh… the instructors said Cuben Fiber, not human fiber.

“I need to text Dee!” I thought immediately.

Now it’s my (Dee) turn…

And text me she did. It went something (exactly) like this:

[Her] Didn’t the guy say human fiber?? 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
[Me] Lol! I thought he said Cuban fiber.. as in the country.
[Her] Hahahaha! I’m deaf and was freaking out about what part of humans they used.
[Me] I was kind of wondering myself what Cuban fiber was. So between the two of us we’re like, “Cuban Human Fiber? Are you kidding me? Is this why we rekindled relations with Cuba? This is wrong!”
[Her] I wondered why google took me to an ad for laxatives when I googled human fiber!
[Me] You’ve obviously never been constipated!
[Her] p.s. laxatives do lighten the load.
[Me] Hilarious!
[Her] I think I have a headline for my next post “Human Fiber Debate. Should humans be protected from being used in experiments with ultralight backpacking needs?”!

To be honest, I did think it was a bit odd that she took off like a bullet as soon as the class was over. I just thought that maybe 8pm was past her bedtime. When she told me she was thinking the entire time that the guy was talking about ‘Human Fiber’, I was rolling on the floor! I can only imagine the horrifying thoughts going through her head the entire time. Good thing I was taking notes, because I’m pretty sure nothing after that penetrated her brain. And at least now I don’t feel so bad for wondering, “What in the world could Cuban Fiber be?”.

The truth: