Typical Day on the Trail
Note that all activities are governed by the weather, although we go out, rain or shine. Exactly which trails we use and where we camp will depend on rain, wind, lightening and other conditions.
Day 1 - The guides and llamas meet each group at the trailhead. (Click here for information about where we hike and directions to the Black Balsam Parking area.) Everyone gets acquainted and selects their llama buddy. Guides load gear on llama packs and give campers an orientation to group rules, llamas and trail guidelines. Participants choose their llamas and practice leading them. Eat lunch at the trailhead and hike an hour to the first break area. Set goals for the day.
Hike about three to four miles the first day depending on abilities of the participants. Lead and get to know llama partner. Along the way, keep an eye out for natural sights, including animals, animal sign, vegetation and views. In learning mode during the day, learning how to hike with the llamas, how to set up during a break, then how to set up when the day comes to an end. Break into work crews when get to camping spot for the night. Learn what needs to be learned to set up camp and be ready for night. Have group session at the end of supper.
Day 2 - Head therapist wakes everyone up and instructs everyone on what to do before they come out of their tents. Work crews get their tasks done, including getting breakfast ready. Have group during breakfast and set goals for the day. Break camp, load llamas and set out for five to eight mile hike. Have group at lunch to discuss how the day is going and deal with positives and negatives. Rotate through the roles each participant takes. Learn to identify animals by their footprints and droppings found along the trail. Practice teamwork by navigating obstacles, wash outs on the trail or stream crossings. Overcome several obstacles during the day, with a final major climb at the very end of the day. Arrive at next campsite and repeat the campsite set-up with more independence by campers. Have a greater amount of time this day to break into smaller groups and to spend more time with own llama.
Following Days - Following days are similar, but the next to the last day involves a major challenge, either a very long hike of up to 12 miles or climbing a tall peak or both. The participants are asked to journal each day. Depending on the group, a three or four hour solo experience may be held. The last day for all trips is usually planned so that the group arrives back at the trail head and vehicles around noon or early afternoon. The groups will pose for a group photo, unpack gear, eat lunch and say goodbye to their llamas before departing.