As a boy growing up in Idaho, I have enjoyed many adventures in the wilderness. As a Boy Scout I enjoyed backpacking in Yellowstone National Park, the River of No Return Wilderness and more. I can remember spending hunting season with my cousins and uncles at a cabin my grandfather built in the Palisade Mountains. I have always enjoyed getting as deep into wilderness climbing every mountain in sight to get the view from the top. These moments were why I love outdoor photography.
Now as an adult, I find my friends and I are less and less excited about carrying big heavy packs to get in to the backcountry and started looking for alternative ways of enjoying the wilderness. I soon began doing research on pack animals and stumbled upon the llama. At that time, I new nothing about llamas and thought any llama would do for packing. So I bought four llamas my new packing adventure. I took them out all the time and trained them right up. I felt pretty good my first couple of years.
The more and more I researched pack llamas and llamas in general I soon found there to be few different types of llamas for all different purposes. Good pack llamas are considered the Classic llamas that are tall, athletic and muscular with shorter coats. There is a small organization that is working to preserve the Classic working llama called the Ccara llama. Evaluating a pack llama is all about conformation and body movement. These llamas do a great job with ease up in the mountains. I have taken my llamas in places I would no way take a horse. Over solid granite ridges where horses would be slipping and sliding all over with metal shoes. I gone through rock slide areas with no problem. Llamas have a pad on there feet like a dog so they are not sliding around as much as a most hoof stock on a rocky mountain trail.
Once I realized there was a llama more dedicated to mountain packing, I sold the first 4 llamas and bought a whole herd of quality pack llamas from Garth and Ruth Elda Holms who were wanting to retire! Thier herd stock came from the Snake River Llamas, Doyle Markham out of Idaho Falls. Doyle wrote the book on Llamas are the Ultimate.
In order to keep genetic diversity I was on the hunt for a stud llama. I decided to take a rode trip and drove through Montana, Washington, Alberta Canada and Oregon. Finally on the last stretch of the trip back in Idaho I found Jordan’s White Socks. He was so nice looking! Very tall and lean. But the owners had a hard time keeping him in a fenced pasture. He like trying to get to the girls!
White Socks was better then anything I had seen on my travels and I was glad to have him. He proved to be a great male with several studs out there to his credit including Zorro 49″ Tall, Spring Creek Llamas, Opus 49.25″ Tall, Wilderness Ridge Llama, and Bridger 47.25 ” Tall Tom Neilson Anaconda, MT. White Socks has many other progeny of dams and sires in the 48″ plus height range.
Many of the pack llamas I have raised here in Idaho end up on pack strings packing all over the Rocky Mountains. White Socks is out of the llama connection lines owned by Wes Holmquist Herd. Wes was very instrumental in getting the Ccara llama organization up and running, also saving a lot of the old classic llamas lines. My new studs Hi Trl Barclay and Hi Trl 6-3-0 are out of Al and Sondra Ellis High Line Trail Llama Herd. They also are responsible in saving a lot of the old classic lines and breeding some of the best pack llamas in the industry.
Life is great here on the 13 acre Bear Mountain Llama Ranch. The Portneuf River flows threw the ranch with a great swinging hole. With the rope swing in the willow tree I planted when we bought the place back in 1989. I always believed if you can believe it you can achieve it! As a boy raised in the big city Idaho Falls (Ammon), I could not wait to get some land out in the country. I always wanted to live either on a lake or river and raise lots of animals. I met Dennis back in 1988 he also wanted to get out of the city. Together we have raised three sets of Dobermans to guard the place when we are away. Lots of parrots, pheasants, quail, peacocks and of coarse the wonderful llamas!
The Llama Ranch is located near Lava Hot Spring, Idaho which is a wonderful winter and summer recreational area. We are surrounded by Fish and Game winter range, BLM, and Forest Service property. We always see moose, deer, cougars, coyote, fox, wild turkeys and pheasants all from the house. This is complete paradise for us!
I hope you enjoy looking at the trip, and baby llama photos. If you are looking for quality Ccara packers or genetics, take a look at our sales page by clicking here.
I also have a Facebook page ( Bear Mountain Pack Llamas ) with more photos.
Happy Llama Trails