A Labor Day post in honor of all those working llamas. About mid-August this summer, three of our llamas packed in about 150 lbs. of gear to assist Chugach State Park with trail maintenance on the Iditard Trail (AKA Crow Pass Trail). We started from the Eagle River Visitor Center and dropped the gear/equipment about Mile 5.5 around the Icicle Creek area. Equipment hauled by llamas included chain saws, fuel, hand tools, camping gear and food (above) .The
gear/equipment was stored and locked in a strong (Knaak) box so that
trail crews could access it when needed.
lower trail just
beyond the Perch (Mile 4) is eroding into the river. A new trail has
been re-routed above the Perch and will be improved by the trail crew. Crews will also be making trail improvements beyond Icicle
this answers (partially) another FAQ - What are llamas good for? Answer:
They can carry lots of stuff. I like to think of them as a "backpack
with four legs."
I'm often asked, "What's the difference between llamas and alpacas?" At first glance, llamas may look similar to their camelid cousin the alpaca, but there are a number of differences between these two South American animals.
Their ears: Llamas have much longer, banana-shaped ears Alpaca ears have short spear-shaped earsTheir size: Alpacas generally weigh in at around 150 pounds while llamas can
get as heavy as 400 pounds. At the shoulder, an average alpaca stands
between 34 and 36 inches, while a llama generally ranges between 42 and
46 inches.Their faces: Llamas have a longer face; an alpaca’s face is a bit more blunt, giving them a “smooshed in” look. Their purpose: For more than 5,000 years alpacas have been bred for fiber (and
in Peru for meat as well), while llamas have been bred for the same
amount of time as pack animals and meat. Their hair: The alpaca produces a much finer fiber than the llama. The alpaca
also produces more fleece than its larger cous…
This is a frequently asked question (FAQ).Llamas and alpacas are members of the camelid family of
mammals. It is believed that camelids originated in North America at least 40
million years ago and then migrated to
South America and Asia
about 3 million years ago, before the American and Asian continents separated at Alaska. One of the oldest camelid fossils was discovered in Florida and fossil skeletons of camelids very similar to today's alpacas
and llamas have also been found in the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, California.
It's speculated that camelids become extinct from North America during the ice age.
Which leads me to the next frequently asked question: What's the difference between llamas and alpacas? That will be answered in tomorrow's post. Happy Trails...