Peter and I have spent most of our adult lives climbing, skiing, kayaking, Photographing and exploring the mountains of the west. When our daughter was born four year ago, our outdoor adventures became a bit more tame and were confined to places where we could drive. Although we have continued to climb, camp, kayak and ski, we were not able to experience the remote wilderness that fuels our soul. This year we decided our four year old daughter, Abby, was finally ready for her first remote wilderness adventure. Our dear friends Wynne and Tom joined us on this first adventure with our daughter and came up with the idea of bringing llamas with us to help carry some extraneous items that would make our adventure more comfortable and fun for Abby. Throughout the process of learning about backpacking with llamas, we discovered that not only could they carry 80 pounds of equipment, but that Abby could ride them as well.
At the beginning of August we set out on a five-day, twenty mile loop in the Rawah Wilderness located between Fort Collins and Steamboat Springs, with our two rented llamas in tow. We had carefully planed the trip so that Abby, who comfortably hikes four miles, could hike until she was tired and then ride a short distance to camp. We really had no idea how she would fare over five days in a complete wilderness setting hiking for a majority of each day. We shouldn’t have worried, because the farther we hiked, the more in her element she became. She hiked, explored, played pretend, fished and loved every minute with the llamas. We feasted on giant trout on two evenings, and enjoyed the company of moose throughout our adventure.
The llamas turned out to be delightful hiking companions who were quite nimble over rugged terrain and completely self-sufficient during our time at camp. They had pleasant personalities (no spitting, balking, biting, etc.) and were always ready to hike. Even more enjoyable was that they carried 30 pounds of camera equipment for us so that we could document Abby’s first backpack trip. The entire trip was so much fun and we are thrilled to be able to share our love of the mountains with our daughter. We look forward to many more llama adventures to come!