Usually we take many pics on our hikes-ha!
In all of the craziness of the kids being sick, Tom reminded me that I had forgotten to post about his llama adventures. Do you remember the day I was so proudly headed off on a pack trip with my black hoody? Well, the flu had other plans. My daughter woke up sick that morning, so I was unable to go on the trip. What you must know about Tom and I, is that I like to do things by myself, I'll go to garden shows alone, don't mind having lunch by myself, etc., so the pack trips that I have had to do when Tom is at work really are not that big of a deal to me. On the other hand, Tom does not like to do things alone, he doesn't like to ride his Harley alone (likes to have another bike along, it is safer), prefers not go to public places by himself, etc. So a trip alone into the mountains with my pack llamas was a nightmare for him. As a matter of fact, this is where I have to tease him a little, he even wanted my nine year old daughter to stay home alone sick so that I could go with him!!! I made sure he knew he was perfectly capable, packed his lunch, helped him load the llamas, and pushed him out the door!
He called a few times on his way up the trail and was making great time. It was a trail that we are very familiar with, so we have really familiar stops and know where we should be and how long it should take us to get there. His llama "train" was four llamas, not too bad for one person to handle (this is where I make sure to put in my two cents, of course I have done it on my own!). Since he was picking up the camp, the llamas were empty on the way up and had not given him any problems. He said that as he was packing up the camp, he could hear me saying, "take your time, Hon, if the packs aren't right, they won't ride correctly the rest of the way down the trail!". Tom has a tendency to always be in a rush, so I am the one to slow things down and make sure the animals safety and comfort are always in the forefront. He said he had even taken time to put the "ass straps" (I believe the correct term is crupper-ha!) on that we have made for each of the llamas to make the loads ride more evenly on a descending climb.
So, off he goes, quite proud of himself that he had gotten everything packed up so well and that the llamas were behaving so nicely. He said he was almost halfway back down when he decided it was safe to have a beer. Hunter, the last llama in the pack string was carrying his beer cooler, so he headed back to get one and had just reached the cooler, when Pepper, the lead llama (this is where he made the mistake) took off like a shot! He said that all four llamas, loaded to the gills were running full bore through the woods tied together. This time, he said he could physically see me throw my hands up in the air and scream "What are we going to do Pita?" (that's what I call him, originally it was because his middle name is Peter, and he's from NY, and that's how it sounds, but sometimes now I think it stands for Pain In The Ass-love you honey!)
Anyway, he said that string of bolting llamas was out of sight within seconds, he was still standing there with his jaw hanging when he could no longer see them. He said he just kept thinking how I was going to kill him, and yes he was correct!!! The only thing for the poor guy to do was to head down the trail after them and to hope and pray they stayed on it. As he's walking he's picking up our hunter's gear that he had just spent so much time painstakingly packing up on top of the mountain as it is now sprawled all over the trail, and wondering to himself exactly how much of this stuff he was going to have to carry out himself!
Amazingly enough, Pepper had gotten caught up on a tree a good quarter mile down the trail and hadn't gotten anyone injured in the process, thank god!!! Tom said that he was very tempted to shoot him when he got there, but leaving him tangled in the tree until he got the other llamas settled was punishment enough! So, he finally gets everyone back together and on the trail and thinks, thank goodness he can come home tonight, maybe he can finally have that beer....only to open his beer cooler to a bunch of shards of glass and foam-oops!!!!
Again, I love you honey!!!