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Llamas on the Trail

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Re: Llamas on the Trail

Postby ERIC » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:09 pm

rlown wrote:ok,

Any chance this topic can get back on track about llamas, packing, and not dynamite?

Russ


But it's so much more FUN! \:D/

Ok (sigh), you win. Back to the 'other' cool topic. :D
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Re: Llamas on the Trail

Postby dave54 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:11 pm

rlown wrote:Sorry for the dynamite diversion, but i'd kinda like to know if my ranger friends out there carry dynamite.


My wife's Uncle Dick, now deceased, was a Forest Service ranger at San Jacinto 1917 to 1919. He had some wild stories. Dynamite was on the standard equipment list when you loaded the pack horses for a month long backcountry patrol.
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Re: Llamas on the Trail

Postby homeranch » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:35 am

Our boys had not been placed into a train and led on a hike in nearly two years. Our lives have been so busy with our move, getting established into our new home etc. The boys had become pasture potatoes, but, I took them to the beach the other day.

Haltered, put them in the trailer, saddled them and walked them. Here is something I like about llamas, they did all I asked as if they had been hiking the day before. They hold their training very well.

There must have been 30 photos taken of them, such an unusual sight to see, llamas on the beach.

http://www.greatbasinguide.com
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Re: Llamas on the Trail

Postby rlown » Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:19 pm

When you take them to the high-country, how often do you move them around and what do you use to tie them out, so to speak. I know that i'd like to be safe, leaving them for a good 4 hrs while i went somewhere i'm sure they could not follow.

Russ
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Re: Llamas on the Trail

Postby homeranch » Sat Feb 21, 2009 4:59 pm

First point, I seldom leave them. I do make a decision about lions, If I am above normal lion range I do not worry so much, but they could do something else, tie them selves up, pull a pin and wander off. So perhaps I would leave them for an hour max.

To tie them out I use standard screw in dog pins, aluminum is lightest. to that I clip a 10-15 foot line, 4 mil perlon works great, and clip that to their halter. They can move around in that 20-30 foot circle.

If you did this with a horse it would likely get all tangled and freakout, but the llamas are easier.

Just make sure the circles don't overlap. I want the stake to come out if they are scared by something, beats having them injure themselves

I move the stakes depending on the browse, I prefer to have them at the margins of a meadow where they can munch on a shrub as well as grass, but I don't want to leave a noticeable lack of vegetation. so I might move them three or four times a day if it is a layover day. I look for harder ground, they don't want to be in soggy muddy ground and we don't want the destruction that would occur. I also watch their pooping. twice in one spot is enough, they like to poop in the same spot, so they will build a pile, I prefer small piles that I then scatter.

Llama poop, called "beans" is like deer pellets, dry and odorless, nicer to deal with than horse manure.

For water, I use an REI collapsable bucket, I move it from llama to llama so they all have the opportunity to drink. Sometimes they will go for a day or two without drinking, then down gallons, sometimes they will frequently drink.
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Re: Llamas on the Trail

Postby Phil R » Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:59 am

I've been on three llama packing trips in the Sierras. I think the biggest issue with most of the group was the late starting time each day. We didn't hit the trail until 10 or 10:30 because it took so long to organize and pack the gear. The llamas only carried about 10-15 lbs. of gear each. Instead of going lighter we carried more gear and food...should have rethought that strategy.

I think one of the best ways to use llamas is to haul stuff in to create a base camp. Then do a lot of fishing and day hikes.
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Re: Llamas on the Trail

Postby homeranch » Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:34 am

Interesting comments Phil.

Having a llama carry a weight 1/3 of what a person normally carries does not make sense to me, was there a reason for the light loads?

It takes us no more than two hours from the time I get up to make coffee, eat breakfast, break camp, pack load and leave even with 5 llamas. We have assigned chores, and move expeditiously, but not with unseemingly haste.

If I get up at 6:00 AM we are on the trail by eight, which is reasonable I think for 4-5-6-7-8 people.

I get up first as it is my job to make sure my wife gets her coffee first thing :)

Using llamas as a basecamp works well, as does traveling each day. Here is an account of a basecamp trip; http://www.greatbasinguide.com/northtwintrip.htm
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Re: Llamas on the Trail

Postby madeintahoe » Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:49 am

Thank you for posting this....I bet your Llamas are very cute!....I have only seen a few while backpacking and hiking.. 1st time was through the Paria River Canyon in Utah/AZ. they really seemed to enjoy being in that canyon and then here in Tahoe...the Tahoe Rim trail crew volunteer used two of her Llamas to help with trail work...she had them carry supplies to a base camp....they were all so beautiful, I really enjoyed seeing them out there :)

Thank you again.
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Re: Llamas on the Trail

Postby gdurkee » Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:22 pm

gdurkee, you are a back country ranger in Yosemite?

When we were kids we went to Tenaya Lake every summer for two weeks. my dad would take off to Sunrise Lakes to fish and leave us really little kids to play at the lake and meadow. Ruined me for any sort of real job.

We had a ranger come and give great campfire talks, we would sing songs like "Little Chief Tenaya sat on a Fiya (fire)

Years later I learned that was Carl Sharsmith (did I spell it right)

By chance do you know Olaf Carmel former ranger, or Victoria Brown, former ranger, now at the Inyo in Bridgport (now being sometime in the last 5 years)


Homeranch:

Yes, you had the great luck to have met the legendary Sharsmith. He started as a ranger/naturalist in Yosemite in, I think, the early 30s and worked into the early 90s. He was a professor of botany at San Jose State University and a recognized authority in alpine flora. Most of all, though, he was a great ranger with an incredible knowledge of the natural history of the Sierra.

I don't remember Olaf Carmel or Victoria Brown. I worked as a seasonal backcountry ranger in Yosemite in the 70s, but have been in Sequoia Kings since then (though until a few years ago I did work Ostrander in winters for about 20 years as relief ranger).

I can also credit Carl for saving me from a life of power ties and firm handshakes.

George
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Re: Llamas on the Trail

Postby homeranch » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:34 pm

the Tahoe Rim trail crew volunteer used two of her Llamas to help with trail work...she had them carry supplies to a base camp....they were all so beautiful, I really enjoyed seeing them out there
I wonder if that was Debbi Waldear? She had llamas for years.

gdurkee. Carl was an amazing guy, He made quite an impression on a little kid. We did a trip a few years ago, in over Cottonwood and out over Kearsarge, just before Forester Pass we met your Park Superintendint who was with another woman leading a pack horse. So, she got to meet our llamas and family.
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Re: Llamas on the Trail

Postby homeranch » Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:00 am

Here we are, a year and a few months down the road. I thought I would revive this thread, as, our boys are now for sale.

I am the kind of guy who is constantly changing obsessions and hobbies. As I look back over the years at my past hobbies, scuba, rock climbing, skiing, sailing, etc, I have come to accept my pattern, I have done much the same with jobs, and to pull up Durkee's? post quote,
I can also credit Carl for saving me from a life of power ties and firm handshakes.

Carl and Lake Tenaya did the same for me. But that would be digressing.

So anyway, we currently have three well trained llamas for sale with all tack. They must go to someone who will pack with them. And we need to meet and approve of the purchaser. We want them to get back out and hike, so this is a bit different than selling, say a bike rack, this is actually moving the boys on to more adventures.

If you are, a climber tired of hauling 100lbs into base camp on your back.
If you are a backpacker who likes the idea of ultra light but would prefer not to look at meal time with a sense of dread.
If you have backpacked up south facing slopes in the hot sun with a backpack, sweat pouring off you like the headwaters of a small creek.
If you are a bit older and your back cringes at the sight of your loaded back pack.
If you are the parents of young children and have felt you could not haul both your children and your gear into the back hills.

You might want a pack string of llamas. If our three are in shape, they can carry 80lbs apiece, or 240lbs total, which is about 6 backpackers loads.

If you want to know more about them, you can read back through this thread, I put a lot of information into my prior posts, and you may check their site; http://wanderingthewest.com/llama/llamasale.html
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Re: Llamas on the Trail

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:51 am

I have talked with many goat packers and they all swear that goats are better than llamas. As with ANY animal, you really have to be into animals - I personally do not think the chore of keeping an animal 365 days a year balances the advantage on the trail, even if you are out 60 days a year. I would, however, love to hire a commercial packer who uses llamas (instead of horses) to bring in resupplies. Although it sounds good in theory, people who say they will still pack "minimalist" and use the extra capacity of the llamas for food only, usually end up throwing in extra comfort items. I have never seen a group with goats, llamas, horses or mules go "minimalist".
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