There comes a time in each of our lives when we need a little assistance. It’s ok… there’s nothing to be ashamed of. It happens to all of us eventually. And the llamas are here to help.
I still won’t stop to ask for directions, and heaven help the poor S.O.B. who offers to loosen a jar lid for me, but when I’m staring down a 35 pound toddler, a family-sized pile of gear and a long steep trail into the high country, you can bet your donkey that I’m calling a camelid.
Why not? Those wooly little buggers are great. They’re completely idiot proof (and so long as we’re talking livestock, I’ve got the credentials to prove it). You can learn to pack them in no time. They lighten your load by 75 pounds apiece, and when you make it to camp, you set em and forget em. There’s nothing to it.
“Horses! “ say my western bred friends. “A real man packs horses.”
I’ll say this about horses. No llama has ever kicked me, bitten me, head-butted me, stepped on my boots, crowded me on the trail or dug in and refused to move. At no point have I feared for the life of my child – my suddenly appearing, arm waving, sneaking up from behind, loud noise making, unpredictable son – due to the presence of a llama. Despite my best efforts, he’s actually crawled under the belly of a standing llama before… more than once. I am not rolling those dice with horses.
Llamas scramble well, don’t require much of a trail and are easy on fragile alpine ecosystems, making them ideal for expeditions to rarely fished waters. I can’t speak from personal experience, but I bet they’re also great at packing out ungulate quarters in the fall.
Adding a kid to the mix can really limit your backcounrty range. Until they’re ready to log miles on their own two feet, someone has to carry them. That means one less back to share the rest of the load. You can stay home and look up at the hills, pining for the squirt to grow, or you can find a way to make the next adventure happen.
Me, I’m going with the llamas.
The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Stalking the Seam or any horse loving, ranch bred, native Montanans associated with this publication. In fact, anyone claiming knowledge of said Montanan having ever camped with llamas is a no count, libelous liar, who had best lawyer-up and come heavy.