Before we left home, we booked a hike with a llama. The hike was scheduled to leave from the same campground north of Taos in the Carson National Forest that we wimped out of camping in the night before. So, from our comfy hotel room in Taos Ski Valley, we drove 40 minutes back up to our old stomping grounds (for a night) to meet the Llamas, the tour guide and the rest of the hikers. The tour guide was a really friendly guy who had moved from New York about 25 years ago. He was a single parent of an 18 month old and liked to hike. But, of course, with a young kid, you have so much to carry around (diapers, wipes, snacks, toys, etc), that he had a hard time carrying it all. So, the obvious solution – get a llama to carry it for you! Right?! But I’m glad he had that crazy idea because one thing led to another, and now he rescues llamas (he said he had about 30 on his property north of Taos) and take the well-behaved ones on hikes with customers. Like us! It is a cool story and he was a really nice guy who clearly cared about the llamas and cared about the national forest where we were hiking. There were about 15 people on our hike, and each pair got a llama. Our family got two – Bucky and Picchu (like Machu Picchu – or as the guide joked “because he likes to do 2 things – pee and chew!”)
The llamas were interesting animals, they are herd animals, and like to stick together so they were easy to walk on the hike, though they did like to stop and chomp on the leaves if given the chance. They had a natural pecking order, and our llamas were near the bottom, so we took a spot near the back of the pack. Once the boys were comfortable, they each took charge of a llama (except N who was just in charge of keeping up!)
We loaded the llamas with our lunch, assorted gear and water, then set off on a leisurely hike of about a mile, up in the mountains. The most exciting part was when we crossed a river or stream. The humans took a bridge over and the llamas walked through the stream. Some of the llamas liked to stop and poop in the stream – including our very own Bucky, so those llamas had to be tied together so the non-pooper would pull the pooper through.
The weather was threatening rain, so we stopped on the early side for lunch by a river crossing, and our tour guide prepared a nice lunch featuring sandwiches, potato salad and cookies (which always somehow taste better while hiking!).
After we ate lunch, the forecasted rain did begin to fall, so we packed everything up and headed back. We even got a nice family picture (llamas included!)
Once we got back to the parking lot, the boys gave the llamas some treats to reward them for a job well done.
Finally, everyone loaded “their” llama into the trailer and we said goodbye!
This will definitely be a day we all remember.