Travelogue - The Llama Bunch

A 14-mile hike through the Sierras: That's the way they all became the Llama Bunch.

My friends know me as an inveterate world traveler, so when I mentioned that I was planning to go on a "Llama Trek" most of them assumed I was heading off to Tibet to get more in touch with my spiritual side. I explained that the trip was in California and that I was looking to recruit a few good participants, and suddenly all ears were open.

The trip I had in mind was a three-day pack trip to the Emigrant Wilderness, which is in the high Sierras just north of Yosemite. The llamas are brought along as pack animals, carrying all of the gear so that all you have to worry about is the trekking.

Llamas, which are members of the camel family, are among the world's oldest domesticated animals, and have been used as pack animals in the Andes for thousands of years. They are gaining in popularity in the US as companion and pack animals. Llamas have padded, two-toed feet, as opposed to hooves, making them extremely sure-footed on mountain trails. True pack animals of the '90's, llamas create less of an impact on the environment than other pack animals or hikers.

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