About Timberline Llamas
Timberline Llamas was founded in 1984 with 3 llamas that we bought to take backpacking with us in the Colorado mountains. We soon had many more, including several females. Our orignial stud, Groucho, produced dozens of beautiful babies for us. Many of these offspring, and grandbabies, joined our pack string as we began to lead commercial llama pack trips into the high country of Colorado and Wyoming. In the last 15 years, many people from all parts of the country have enjoyed seeing the wild parts of these mountains with our llamas. We are active members of the International Llama Association, the Rocky Mountain Llama & Alpaca Association, Llamas of Central Colorado, and with trails organizations promoting ecologically sustainable outdoor recreation - such as llama trekking. See the links page for more information on these resources.
Since those early days, our headquarters has moved to the western slope, outside the small town of Silt. The llamas made the adjustment to a hotter summer and less-snowy winter, sagebrush instead of pine forest, and sandstone instead of schist. They now eat the hay grown right on the ranch, eliminating most of the transportation and effort involved in feeding them and thus greatly reducing their carbon footprint!
Llamas are members of the Camelid family, which includes their close relatives the alpaca, vicuña, and guanaco, all of South America, and the camels of the Middle East and Asia. They have been domestic beasts of burden in the Andes for over 3500 years. Fossil evidence shows that their ancient ancestors roamed the plains of what is now the American Southwest. Although these prehistoric relatives disappeared thousands of years ago, modern camelids have been re-introduced to North America as domestic animals during the 20th century.
In the United
States, pack llamas are almost always the males, usually weighing
300-400 lbs. The normal pack load for an adult male is 60-80
lbs. Their disposition is calm and somewhat aloof, rather like
a cat. They are willing and sure footed packers, and silent companions
on the trail. A llama can go anywhere a person can, on or off
the trail, across deep rivers and even on snowfields. They are quite intelligent about navigating difficult terrain, and will follow a person willingly, but the human leader must use good judgement to avoid dangers, such as boulder fields or talus slopes
where the llama may cut their soft foot pads or injure a leg. With proper care, a llama's packing career may last ten years or more.