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Bear Busters!

When walking or hiking with llamas I'm often asked "Do llamas attract bears?" Bears have been known to attack llamas but our experience has been that llamas don't attract bears anymore than other pack stock or pets. In fact the llama's "alarm call" may act as a good deterrent for bears. Llamas are instinctively alert and aware of their surroundings, and usually draw attention to an intruder by making a startling "alarm call" when it senses danger. A llama is usually aware of a bear long before we can see or hear it and will let off their "alarm call" when the unwanted intruder is around. Click on the hyperlink to hear our Raul llama making an alarm call -  Llama Alarm Call However, I would not recommend leaving llamas tied out unattended while camping. In that situation llamas would not be able to defend themselves from predators such as bears or even an aggressive dog. Even in suburban areas such as Anchorage, there are
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Raul Gets a Haircut

In Alaska we only do a partial shearing of our llamas in the spring. This is because it takes about two years for the wool to completely grow back and llamas need a good coat of wool in the Alaskan winter. First we clean the llamas by using a Circuiteer blower (below) and brushing. Otherwise, the dust in the llamas' wool will dull the shears.  Notice in the YouTube video, how Phil is using a downward motion with the shears. He is also taking care to keep the shears parallel to the llama's body. Otherwise the shears could injure the llama if they were to shear too close and clip the skin.  We have used Stewart Shearmaster shears for many years which have worked well for us. 

Awesome Arctic Valley - Spring Conditioning Hikes

(Photo: View of Eagle River Southfork Valley from above the Saddle.) The climb to either Mt. Gordon Lyon (elevation 4,134 feet) or Rendezvous Peak (4,101 feet) are shorter less demanding climbs with a breathtaking 360 view of Anchorage, Eagle River, and the South Fork Valley. Starting north: Denali and the Alaska Range (on a clear day) Knik Arm, Highland Mountain, the town of Eagle River (and the river), its surrounding peaks (Magnificent, Baldy, Black Tail Rocks, Harp, Vista & Roundtop), the south fork of Eagle River with Eagle and Symphony Lakes in the distance, Rendezvous Peak, Ship Creek and Indian Valley, Anchorage, Turnagain Arm, and Cook Inlet. You will also get a good view of the Site Summit where Nike Missiles were held years ago. (As a side note, take care not to trespass on the military instillation which borders the trail near the trail head. There may be fines if you are caught.) Why I like this hike:  Good for all skill levels, trail is easy to follow with var

Celebrate the New Year with a Hike to Barbara Falls!

The hike to Barbara Falls (also known as South Fork Falls*) can be done in any season. The frozen winter (silent) falls can be as spectacular as the noisy summer falls. There are several ways to get to this 60 foot beauty in Eagle River, Alaska. The easiest and shortest way is to drive to the gate at the bottom of Ken Logan Circle. Then walk about a half-mile on old roads from the end of Ken Logan Circle (in a neighborhood off Hiland Road.)   Please respect private property. Depending on your route to the falls, you may be walking in a right-of-way  on or near private property. Short Route:  Take the Glenn Highway about 10 miles north to Eagle River Loop and exit toward the mountains. Turn right at the first light onto Hiland Road. Continue uphill about 3.3 miles and turn left onto River View Drive into a neighborhood. Veer left as it becomes Waterfall Drive, then follow until it dead-ends into River Park Drive. Continue right to Ken Logan Circle. Most of the circle is signed off-lim

Hike More in 2022...

We all know hiking is good for both mind and body as this article points out - Five Ways Hiking Is Good for You . The New Year is almost here so make a resolution to "don" your hiking boots and hit the trails more in 2022. To get you started, here's a list of Alaska hiking groups compiled from various Facebook posts and websites. The groups range from easy family-friendly to more challenging for experienced hikers. Some welcome anyone; others are women only and are geared for various ability levels. I included website and/or Facebook links if available. If you know of others, just send me a message (or post a comment) and I will include. Anchorage Trail Walkers - https://www.meetup.com/Anchorage-Trail-Walkers/ Website says - We get out 2-3 times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays DURING THE DAY, usually at 10am. Women Who Hike Alaska - https://www.facebook.com/groups/284961021989141/ Hike Like A Woman Alaska: Typically women only, but may host “f

Hike to "The Perch" (Winter)

Here's a lovely winter hike... Why I Like This Hike:   This section of the Historic Iditarod Trail starts from the Eagle River Nature Center (ERNC) and makes for a splendid hike any time of  year especially in the winter after a fresh snowfall. The well-established trail is truly an all-season hike with potential for wildlife viewing and doable for all skill levels. Background : The Historic Iditarod (aka Crow Pass) Trail which spans the Girdwood Valley to Eagle River is considered one of the best trails to hike in the Chugach mountain range because it offers such diversity including glaciers, waterfalls and wildlife. Not only a great hiking/backpacking route, it's also an historic portion of the Iditarod Trail that led from Seward to mines in the Interior. A bit of trivia not known by many is that this trail was rebuilt in the 1970s with girl scout labor. Moose on trail near ERNC How to Get There:   For driving directions to the trailhead at the ERNC go to the   E