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Llama Trekking with Friends - By Cole Higgins

The 4th and 5th graders went on a "Llama Trek" in the North Carolina mountains. We hiked in the Pisgah National Forest. When we first got there, we met the llamas. Here are their names: Blue, Tangelo, Norwester, Maestro, Frosty, and Bandit. Avery and I had Tangelo. Tangelo was pretty good, except when it was the second to last day. Why? Because he spat at Blue because their collars were twisted together. On the second day, Boris and David's llama fell down, but luckily scrambled back up. Also on the second day we saw a lemming, five times in a row. A lemming is a rodent that looks like a gray mouse. On the morning of the third day, while everyone was shoveling up llama beans, I took a rest for an entire hour, because I threw up and was sick.
I felt better when we started to hike. On the third day, Lee and I hiked four extra miles to get water with George, the trail guide and llama owner. That was nine miles total, for Lee and I, for that entire day. The third night was the coldest night of all. I was the first to be in the tent! Lee, Stacey, Tyler H., and Tyler C., all shared one llama, which was Blue, the lead llama. We had stops for lunch every day. We also had hot chocolate, apple cider, and tea at dinner. In the morning, we had hot chocolate. At night, we told some funny stories and some ghost stories. They were funny and scary! On the last day, it only took us exactly 46 minutes to get to the bus. I had a blast! It was very, very, very FUN!

Reflections - By Laura Rich
Thank you, thank you, thank you parents for letting me have your incredible children for four days. What a wonderful crew! We had such a delightful time hiking, eating, fetching water, gazing at clouds settled in the valleys below us, feeding llamas, climbing trees, exploring mountain streams, setting up tents and, of course peeing in the woods. These kids were amazing troopers. They settled into the hiking/camping rhythm beautifully. I loved watching them invent ways to play without prefabricated plastic or electronic toys. They invented games to play together, and returned to some old standards like hide and go seek and tag.

I loved listening to the girls sing songs from old musicals like Oklahoma and The Sound of Music. I could have done without the boys' constant references to snot and other body products, but I guess one must take the good with the less desirable. I must say, it was fascinating to see how long a conversation based on buggers could continue uninterrupted. Gross! I know all of the children came home feeling as if they had accomplished a great deal. They literally felt as if they climbed a mountain, and they did! I loved every minute of it. It was a great trip.

Dear George, I like the llamas. Merlin was cool. Thank you! Love, Pat

Dear George,
Thank you so much for letting use use your llamas. I really enjoyed leading Foxy and leading the group with the compass and map. I really enjoyed hiking with you, and Tricia. I hoped that you had as much fun as I did. It was a very memorable experience and I will never forget the ways that you led us through the wash-outs and difficult trails. Thank you for letting us go on your permit. I would absolutely DIE to get another chance with llamas, especially Foxy. Please tell Tricia that we though (me mainly) she was a great trail guide and friend. Once ore I would like to thank you and Tricia for the wonderful time provided by you. Give yourself a hand and credit for the terrific time.
Your llama trekker (one of them),

Dear George and Tricia,
Thank you for a wonderful llama trek! It is amazing to see the effect that the animals have on the children that we work with. I have no doubt that the experience leaves a lasting impact on each of them. This time, the hideaway in the woods shouldn't be quite as long. (Thanks for your patience!!)
Pamela Schadt and Nick Woods

Norwester, Thanks for leading us. Love, Charlie Roper (Nick's group)

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