On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Any day with llamas is a good day, am I right? ~WaterGirl
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is east of San Diego and extends down to the Mexican border. We headed there over the week between Christmas and New Years in 2016. Much of the backcountry is accessible on dirt roads, if you have a high clearance 4-WD vehicle. Pulling a llama trailer, we mostly did day hikes. We did do an overnight hike following the roads. Unfortunately, the park rangers asked us not to stray too far from the roads with the llamas. So we had to camp where we had little privacy from the vehicles that drove by.
The process of saddling and loading the llamas takes about 30 minutes. Their gear and tack are color coded to make the process go smoother. We made sure they had a good breakfast of hay at the trailer first. We deal with them individually and then string them together.
Llamas are not very vocal. So we look at their ear position to assess how they are feeling. This position is sometimes referred to as “banana ears.” It means I am a happy llama.
It was a little strange to see these trees in the midst of low scrub. I think this was because it was a low spot in a wash that collected a little more moisture. I don’t know why some were covered in dead fronds and others had exposed trunks.
This camp was on a narrow shelf between the road and a boulder strewn hill.
The vista was both dramatic and desolate. It was very rocky so we could not stake the llamas. For these occasions, we use separate nylon rope mesh bags that we fill with rocks to keep each llama from wandering off (the red object is attached to the middle llama).
In December it gets cold quickly in the desert once the sun goes down. They have thick coats but we headed into our tent soon after taking this photo.
That’s the thing about the desert, kinda hard to build a fire when there is no wood. ;-(
So cool!! I was there, oh I don’t know, 60 years ago!
@raven: All the best to Little Bit. And Bohdi.
Have been to A-Borrego too. But not with llamas! And not in December. Love the desert. A-Borrego is very isolated. Remember driving back via Julian and having some of their famous apple pie.
Got to remember that lashonharangue posts might come with llamas … except in Paris, I guess …
Never been there but it’s on our itinerary for next year, COVID willing.
Hiking with llamas looks like a great way to cover some ground!
The photo of the banana ears llama brightened our morning.
Ah, so that is what a llama trek is supposed to look like. I was once asked by a friend to help on a llama trek she had arranged for the Nature Conservancy in WV, up to Panther Knob, one of their high country properties. She and I arrived at the starting place, llamas in tow. We unloaded them and she put tiny panniers on their backs. I asked how they could possibly carry all the stuff in those tiny bags and she said: “oh, this is their first trek, so all they are carrying are the paper plates.” That’s when I noticed the large backpacks that we would be wearing, carrying all the food five miles up a steep hill, dragging the reluctant llamas all the way. The Nature Conservancy folks found this hilarious. In retrospect, I do too.
Here’s my Llama video (complete with typo) with Bohdi as a young dog.
@Elizabelle: In Chile the photos come with guanacos.
@lashonharangue: I have a friend who did a documentary on Llamas and charango’s!
Thanks for the photos. We used to camp at the Wind Caves there until the rangers shut it down; too many people not packing out their waste.
I was also surprised at how many 4-wheelers would race through the night through the desert. Huge light racks and loud engines screaming from miles away.
And pie in Julian is a must, plus a few frozen ones to take home on the way back.
Great pictures. I’ve been there a few times. The San Diego Orienteering Club usually has a event over MLK Jr Day weekend. The area they use is in the southern portion. There’s one spot called The Slot that is a narrow canyon where they have what they call the Maze-O. It’s a small area, but it’s easy to get confused in.