How to Hike with Llamas

How to Hike with Llamas
Hiking with llamas is an alternative to carrying heavy packs on your own. It also allows for companionship and support on the trail. Llamas are known for being relatively docile and intelligent and have helped hikers out of sticky situations.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Llama
  • Pack
  • Optional certification
  • Vehicle
 
Step 1
Locate a hiking group that specializes in llamas treks. Use llamas with experience carrying packs and navigating trails. A trained llama is not the same thing as an experienced llama. Just about any llama can be trained, but not all llamas have experience on the trail.
Step 2
Start with lighter loads until you're comfortable packing and guiding. Llamas can pack about one-third of their body weight depending on the conditions, the llama and the handler.
Step 3
Contact the Pack Llama Trial Association (see Resources) for llama packing education and certification. The course tests the llama's ability on the trail and gauges how it deals with obstacles and conditions.
Step 4
Find a llama-friendly trail for hiking. Not all trails allow pack animals--they're forbidden on the Appalachian Trail, for example. The easiest way to find a llama trail is by searching for guided llama treks.
Step 5
Use an all-terrain vehicle, van or a pick-up truck to transport your llama. Unlike horses, llamas tend to lie or kneel down and can even fit in smaller vehicles.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Most hiking and pack llamas are male, as females are often pregnant or nursing.
 
Llamas eat grass and wild onions on the trail. Bring emergency food and water for yourself and the llama.
 
Start with a guided llama hike if you have no experience with llamas or packing.
 
Llamas are generally docile and do not spit unless aggravated or fighting.
 
Hiking llamas carry packs and equipment and are not for riding.

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