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It all started with an "Early Winters" catalog back in the early 1980's when we noticed several llamas for sale in the now defunct "Early Winters" catalog. I knew next to nothing about llamas but this creature looked like it could actually be a "backpack with four legs." This seemed too good to be true, but the more I learned about llamas, the more they looked like the ideal pack animal, especially for Alaska with all that wool.

Rewind back to the 1980's - the llama "hay-day" when demand and prices for llamas were at their peak. During this era there were no llamas to be had in Alaska and waiting lists for male weanlings (that wouldn't be ready to pack for several years) were the norm. So we started searching in the "lower 48 states" and found four six month old male llamas in Oregon. With a little help from a llama "wrangler," we loaded all four weanlings in the rear pit of a 727 Western Airliner and took off for Alaska with llamas in tow. That's how the madness got started and we've never looked back since.

During the ensuing years, our unbridled enthusiasm got the best of us and we dabbed with breeding llamas during the mid-1980's.  However our passion remained with backcountry llama packing so when "opportunity knocked on our door," we sold our breeding herd and continued packing with our remaining male llamas. You could say we went full circle. 

Which brings us to today. We currently have three llamas and pack with them into Alaska's backcountry. To this day, we have never found a better pack animal for Alaska nor a better companion in the backcountry. Sadly there has been a campaign of misinformation and propaganda being spread by special interest groups that llamas pose a "disease threat" to wildlife, in particular wild sheep. As a result we have spent countless hours countering unfounded proposals by various government agencies attempting to ban llamas on public lands. To date we have been successful in countering these proposals and llamas are allowed on most public lands in Alaska.  

For more information on scientifically unfounded proposals, read my "public lands" blog posts and go to https://www.packllamas.org/ which is a clearinghouse for llama (camelid) disease issues. This website is run by a volunteer public lands access committee that is working hard to protect your right to access our public lands.

If you have questions, I can be reached through my Alaska Llamas Facebook page or with the blog contact form.

Before you go, meet Raul, Cerveza and Julio in the video below.

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