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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 the answer to any backpacker's prayers. I wondered if llamas 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.

However, there were no llamas to be had in Alaska at that time so this presented a big problem right off the "git go." Rewind back to the 1980's which was the era of the llama "hay-day" when demand and prices for llamas were at their peak. Waiting lists for the less expensive 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. These weanlings would barely fit inside the largest (No. 6, wooden-style crate) dog kennel. So 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 we got started in this madness and we've never looked back since.

During the ensuing years, our unbridled enthusiasm got the best of us and we ended up with a breeding herd of llamas. There is nothing cuter than a baby llama and we had a lot of fun breeding/raising llamas for several years during the mid-1980's. However, our real passion remained with the backcountry and pack llamas. We decided to sell our breeding herd and continued packing with our remaining male llamas for our own enjoyment. You could say we went full circle from packing with several llamas to commercial breeding/raising/selling llamas and then back to recreational use of pack llamas. 

Which brings us to today. We currently have three llamas and use them for recreational packing into Alaska's backcountry. To this day, we have never found a better pack animal for Alaska nor a better companion in the backcountry. Unfortunately 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 these scientifically unfounded proposals, read my "public lands" blog posts and go to website is the clearinghouse for llama (camelid) disease issues. This website is run by a volunteer ad hoc public lands access committee that is working hard to protect your right to access our public lands.

Meet Raul, Cerveza and Julio in this video - KTUU Interview - NBC News

Above Photo from the KTUU Interview

If you have questions or comments, I can always be reached with the "Contact Form" which goes directly to my email. Enjoy and Happy Trails!