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‘Silent Brothers’ make ideal hiking companions

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By Deborah Stone

Among those I have taken to lunch over the years, I can now add a llama to my list. My dining companion, K-2, was one of six llamas that accompanied our small group on a recent day trek with in Northern New Mexico.
A handsome blonde and statuesque creature with plenty of personality, K-2 was ever-alert and curious as we hiked the trails in the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Area of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. 
I led my trusted wooly friend through the dense woods, over bridges and into the gentle creeks within this picturesque and unspoiled wilderness. With his leather padded, two-toed feet and natural agility, he walked with a self-possessed air, exuding confidence as he navigated the terrain without faltering, while carrying a load of gear.
“Llamas are the perfect low-impact, high altitude pack animal,” said Stuart Wilde, owner and head wilderness guide of Wild Earth Llama Adventures. “They are sure-footed because they have the perfect ‘mountain moccasins’ — like mountain goats — and they have little impact on fragile wilderness trails. They exemplify the ‘leave no trace’ ethic we practice and teach out here.”


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