I’ll never forget the first time I saw someone using pack llamas. I was hiking into some remote, Nevada backcountry with my brother and our good friend, Corey. We had just left the hot trailhead on an early August morning. This time of year, temperatures can reach well into the 90s at the valley floor where we started our hike. In addition, this particular trail included a substantial amount of elevation gain within the first couple miles. After the first half-mile of hiking, we needed a break to cool down and catch our breath. It was about that time we noticed a couple hikers with some pack animals making their way up the trail behind us.
I’ve spent most of my life around horses. We used them primarily for trail riding in the mountains. After years of experience, I gravitated away from horses due to the high level of maintenance and unpredictability. At the same time, I’ve always missed having the extra “horsepower” to haul gear on my backcountry adventures.
As we sat along the side of the trail resting our lungs and legs, the two hikers and their friends made their way past us. As they got closer, we realized they had pack llamas. “How odd!” I thought. At that time the only knowledge I had of llamas was from the Disney movie, Emperor’s New Groove. That day my curiosity of llamas as pack animals was peaked. Needless to say, the hikers and their llamas sped past us on the trail. The hikers weren’t tired or out of breath. They had little to no weight in their small backpacks. All the gear was on the llamas. The llamas looked so natural and in their element, like they were meant to be packing up a mountain trail headed for the backcountry.
It wasn’t long before we found an outfit that rented pack llamas. The next fall, we rented two packers and made our way into the backcountry. The experience was perfect! They behaved well, packed around 75 pounds each, and gave us none of the occasional “trouble” I was accustomed to with horses. We were hooked! That was four years ago. We’ve spent that time building our herd with some of the best pack llamas available. We’ve traveled to six western states in order to find the best pack llamas. We’ve also accumulated female pack llamas so we can build and maintain our own herd. It’s been the best decision we’ve made and fits our backcountry hiking style perfectly.
Here are some fun facts about pack llamas you may not have known:
- Pack llamas are a specific breed of llamas. They are a registered breed called Ccara Llamas, pronounced “kar-a.”
- Most pack llamas range from 44-inches up to as big as 52-inches at the withers or top of the shoulders.
- Ccara breed llamas are bred to be larger bodied with short wool. This helps them cover backcountry miles easier without overheating as fast.
- Llamas do occasionally spit, but rarely at humans. They usually spit at other llamas when they feel their space or feed is being invaded. It’s relatively harmless, except a little chewed hay stuck to your face.
- Llamas don’t have shoes like horses. Llamas have two large toes. The bottom of their foot is soft and padded, which helps and allows gripping on the steep hillsides and rocky terrain of the backcountry.
- Llamas typically live to around fifteen to twenty-five years old.
- Quality trained pack llamas are very difficult to find and can cost anywhere from $2,000 to as high as $10,000.
So if you’re looking for a great adventure and want to get to know our Llamas, contact us at: Backcountry Logistics Mesquite, NV Phone: (435) 256-7882 Email: email@example.com