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By Robin Burgoyne
Goat Walking with Muskoka Goat Away
“Something got your goat, Matthias?” I asked my partner as Piper, the Nigerian Dwarf goat he was walking, stopped for a fresh bite of foliage.
We were on a one-hour adventure with a goat-walking outfit called Muskoka Goat Away. Located on a farm just outside of Huntsville, Ontario, it’s about three hours north of Toronto, a fair drive for a day trip, but a fun excursion if you’re in the area.
You may wonder why two adults would drive so far from Toronto to walk goats for an hour. Why not? Stir crazy after a long winter in Toronto, we were after a way to get out of the city and become attuned to nature … complete with goats in tow.
A Family Friendly Activity
I will admit that from the start I sensed families with younger children were the intended demographic for this relaxed outdoor Ontario activity, and not middle-aged couples. But off we went anyways, seeking a fun day trip from Toronto to release some of our pent-up frustration and restlessness after being cooped up for a winter.
Besides, who says adults can’t have fun? Spending time with animals has been known to reduce anxiety and depression, and increase a sense of wellbeing – and goats are particularly social creatures.
The locale for Muskoka Goat Away is also hard to beat. Muskoka is one of the top romantic destinations in Ontario.
Did you know? A study published in Royal Society Open Science shows that goats can read facial expressions and prefer to spend time with happy people.
Goat Trekking in Nature
We arrived at our destination at the prescribed time and Stephanie, the extremely welcoming and leader of our goat expedition was there to meet us.
Accompanying her were the three, four-legged companions who were to join us on the trek – and by trek I mean walk. This goat walking experience would rate as an easy activity on a soft adventure scale.
An Outside Activity Near Huntsville
Momo was our lead goat and was on the leash beside Stephanie. Behind her, Matthias had Piper and I followed with Posie.
While Matthias was open to sharing one goat between us, I rebelled, insisting on a goat of my own. Later I learned from Stephanie that on this goat walking experience everyone, if it’s appropriate, gets their own goat.
We walked on a lovely Northern trail behind Morgan House Bed and Breakfast through a scenic woodlands of birch, poplar and pine, just what we were after for a day trip north of Toronto.
About Muskoka Goat Away
Interesting to us was the fact that our host Stephanie Brooks, who is originally from Montreal, moved to Ontario and in 2021, and after having lost her job on a farm due to the pandemic, she started taking in goats that needed a new home.
She then had the inspiration to parlay this into a project of her own, translating what is her obvious love of animals and nature into a new project, a goat walking business.
Goats aren’t the only animals in the family’s menagerie, but they make up a substantial part of it. She and her family currently have 17 goats, four dogs, two cats, geese and a pet rabbit.
Goats as Walking Companions
Intelligent, sociable and affectionate, goats generally make great companions. They’re becoming more popular as pets, and even used as therapy animals, particularly the smaller breeds such as Pygmy Goats, Kinder Goats and Nigerian Dwarfs. And haven’t we all heard of goat yoga by now?
Every goat has its own personality, however, and not all of the Muskoka Goat Getaway family members are willing or able to come on the walks.
Stephanie takes out roughly two groups a day during the week, and three or four on weekends. The goat walking schedule is limited as it’s important not to tire the goats.
At present Muskoka Goat Getaway is extremely in demand. For instance, when we had to cancel our original appointment, the next available walk wasn’t for nearly a month.
Walking with Animals – A Growing Trend
Walking with animals is a burgeoning trend when it comes to outdoor activity. Ontario is no exception, and you can already walk with alpacas and llamas at a number of farms around the province.
And Muskoka Goat Away isn’t the only company around Huntsville that has its sights set on introducing city dwellers to spending time with animals in nature. We were told there are others nearby who are thinking of starting a sheep walking venture as well.
Our Goat Experience
The day was beautifully sunny and Momo, Piper and Posie, all Nigerian Dwarf goats, seemed quite happy to hang out with us as we followed a winding trail, although they did seem somewhat more interested in eating the greenery as we went, but hey, they’re goats, and they have four stomachs, which is a lot of room to fill.
But this didn’t really pose, or Posie, a problem as Momo was definitely the leader and Piper and Posie were not about to risk falling out of line or losing the group. We did end up stopping multiple times to let the goats dine quickly on fresh evergreen branches, which they seemed to find remarkably tasty.
As we walked on the path through the quiet woods near Huntsville, we thoroughly enjoyed not only our time with the goats but also the northern scenery as well. All and all Muskoka Goat Away provides a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend an hour.
Where Can You Go Goat Walking in Ontario?
Stephanie’s goats don’t just walk with the groups from Muskoka Goat Away. They also can be found at Huntsville’s Eclipse Walk with Light on Tuesdays, an interactive forest walk in Muskoka Heritage Place at 100 Forbes Hill Drive, Huntsville, Ontario.
Muskoka Goat Away Review
If you’re in the area, or Huntsville is on the way to your destination, goat walking is a quick and enjoyable activity or diversion you may want to consider, especially if you’re looking for a family friendly activity in Muskoka.
Helpful Tips For a Muskoka Goat Away Experience
What do you need to bring with you on your goat walk? Nothing actually except yourself. However, to really enjoy your hour in the woods, you need to be dressed appropriately for the weather.
Cost: A goat walking experience is $20 per person.
Booking With Muskoka Goat Away – If you want to try taking a goat for a walk you can call Stephanie at 705 386 1066 to book your goat walking experience online.
About the author: Robin Burgoyne is a house historian who researches interesting places and homes in Ontario. Learn more at Caerwent House Histories.