Tag Archives: backpacking

Three Beautiful Lighthouses to Visit this Year

Contributed by Katie Levy of Adventure-Inspired

Though in many cases lighthouses are no longer a necessity when it comes to travel by sea, they’re still fascinating landmarks and beacons to behold. Many have important histories and meanings, while others are significant simply because they’re beautiful sights to take in. While some coastal landscapes boast a high concentration of lighthouses, to me there are three that stand out as must-visit destinations in the warmer weather to come.

Punta Gorda Lighthouse, King Range National Conservation Area, California

From the beautiful lighthouses blog; view of Punta Gorda Lighthouse

Image: Katie Levy

Nestled above a sandy beach and below rolling hills and mountains, the tiny abandoned Punta Gorda Lighthouse serves as a landmark for Lost Coast Trail backpackers. It’s also a perfect day-hiking destination for those willing to walk three miles one-way in the sand on one of California’s most remote stretches of coastal trail and also willing to pay close attention to tide tables.

Punta Gorda was once dubbed “the Alcatraz of Lighthouses” because of its inaccessibility and those sent there to operate it. Originally consisting of three two-story dwellings, a signal house, a concrete light building with a curved iron stairway, and more, the lighthouse was abandoned in 1951 in favor of an off-shore beacon. Punta Gorda has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976, and both the inaccessibility and history make it well-worth the visit.

Friends and I paid a visit to Punta Gorda on a backpacking trip along the Lost Coast Trail, and our stop there made for some incredible memories. We climbed up what’s left of the lighthouse to hold court over the harbor seals basking in the sun on the beach, listened to the waves crash below, and saw miles of trail we’d covered already, along with what was to come. It’s a pretty special place.

Visit the BLM website for more information.

Bass Harbor Head Light, Acadia National Park, Maine

From the beautiful lighthouses blog; view of Bass Harbor

Image: Katie Levy

Standing tall above Bass Harbor’s rocky coastline within Acadia National Park, the Bass Harbor Head Light has served as a beacon for travelers since the late 1800s. Today it’s on the National Register of Historic Places, but remains active and serves as a private residence for a local Coast Guard member and his family.

On a trip to Acadia last summer, I had the lighthouse at the top of my must-visit landmarks list as a result of the number of stunning photos I’d seen. Unlike the remote Punta Gorda lighthouse, Acadia’s Bass Harbor Head Light is accessible via short concrete path from a small parking lot. A short walk takes visitors from the comforts of their vehicles to within inches of Maine’s rugged coastline. Friends and I stopped there after a long day of hiking, and despite not having to work too hard to get there, the Bass Harbor Head Light was a worthwhile visit.

Visit the National Park Service website for more information, and click here and here for some of my favorite hikes in Acadia.

Tibbets Point Lighthouse, Cape Vincent, New York

From the beautiful lighthouses blog; view of Tibbetts Point

Image: Katie Levy

I was lucky enough to spend many a summer during my formative years in the Thousand Islands region of New York. The Thousand Islands—a collection of close to 2,000 islands in the St. Lawrence River straddling the border between the United States and Canada—is also home to a number of big, beautiful lighthouses. My favorite? The lighthouse at Tibbetts Point in Cape Vincent, New York.

The Tibbetts Point Lighthouse was built in 1827, and in the 1990s, the lighthouse was formally acquired by the town from the Department of the Interior. I have fond memories of visiting the visitors center as a child, which was built in 1993. Over the past nearly two decades, the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse Society funded a series of renovations both inside and outside of the lighthouse.

The Tibbetts Point Lighthouse is particularly special because it marks the point where Lake Ontario meets the St. Lawrence River, and it’s one of the best places to watch the sun set in that part of the state, in my humble opinion!

Visit the town’s website for more information.

There are so many beautiful lighthouses to visit around the country and around the world! Have you been to any of these? What others would you say are must-visit lighthouses, and why?

Go Exploring with Adventure Archives

The Pocket Ranger® video channel is the place to visit before you head out on your next outdoor trip. The video channel is easy to access, updated weekly, and is a great companion whether you are at work or just hanging out. Watch thrilling adventures from contributors like Adventure Archives where you’ll get in-depth videos into some of the best wilderness sites in North America.

Adventure Archives Member on a Canoeing at Mammoth Cave

Andrew Lin, Bryan Lin, and Bobby Huang take you to the backcountry for fun and education. Here is a teaser below for what’s in store with them:

With Adventure Archives, you’ll learn not only where to go for amazing experiences, but also how to prepare for the unexpected. Learn the important difference between edibles versus poisonous flora while meandering into the deep woods with your hosts. The show takes viewers through all of nature’s elements, from a torrential rainstorm in Red River Gorge to winter camping in Monongahela National Forest—their videos are filled with never-ending surprises. While it might not always be cotton candy and ice cream on the trail, Adventure Archives’ documentary style and original music compilations bring beauty into any outdoor adventure.

To give you a bigger taste of what they’re all about, watch the team tackle Red River Gorge here:

Want to learn more? Adventure Archives is a contributor to the Pocket Ranger® video channel. You can also subscribe to their YouTube channel and like them on Facebook. Enjoy listening to the tunes? Their Bandcamp showcases soundtracks from every one of their videos so you can continue to nod your head to their beats.

Before making plans for your next outdoor trip, be sure to download the Pocket Ranger® mobile apps for the latest information on weather, road conditions, and local activities in the area. Whether you are an avid adventurer or enjoy relaxing weekends in your backyard, the Pocket Ranger® video channel with Adventure Archives is essentials for fun, knowledge, and adventure.

Figuring Out Your Camping Style

The first step in ensuring a positive camping experience is making sure you’re comfortable and happy at your site. After all, a night spent in the great outdoors should be a night well spent. Whether you want to be as close to the bare ground as possible or you’d rather sleep under the stars in style, determining your preference before you head out will make the difference between striking up a continued interest in camping or permanently putting out that flickering campfire in your heart. Here are five types of camping that can help you figure out what works best for you.

Glamping (Glamorous Camping)

A full living room inside of a tent.

Camp…er…GLAMP in style! [Image: http://eluxemagazine.com/travel/glamp-of-approval-great-glamping-sites-for-any-season/]

Glamping is perfect for those that want to enjoy the great outdoors, but don’t want to get their hands dirty while doing so. A relaxing weekend away from the stresses of every day life with all the conveniences of home at your fingertips makes for a great opportunity to clear your mind. Glamping can be done in villas, huts, yurts, cabins, lodges, or at park hotels and motels.

RV Camping

A family sitting near a campfire next to an RV in front of a the lake as the sun sets.

Gather the whole family for some cozy RV camping. [Image: http://blog.elmonterv.com/wordpress/photo-gallery/index.php/page/13/]

Similar to glamping, packing up an RV and driving to a campground offers a close-up view of nature’s beauty from the safety and comfort of a camper. An RV can be stocked with all the conveniences that you’re used to and is essentially just a home on wheels (mobile home—get it?). With the open road laid out ahead of you and a cool drink at your side, there’s not many vacations that can compare!

Car Camping

A car packed with camping gear parked in front of a mountain with a tent in the background.

Pack the car and head for the hills! [Image: http://blog.tahoemountainsports.com/2011/05/23/car-camping-list-checklist/]

A bit more rustic yet still comfortable, camping from the convenience of your car gives you easy access to a lot more supplies than just one or two backpacks can hold. It’s a way to get into nature and enjoy yourself while also making sure you didn’t forget your favorite jacket or lucky socks. Just make sure you pack the car in a well-organized and easily accessible way!

Tent Camping

A tent next to campfire in front of a lake as the sun sets.

A peaceful camping trip is just what the doctor ordered. [Image: http://media.onsugar.com/files/2010/10/42/1/912/9123837/8e33a8f26a0179cc_tent_camping.jpg]

When people typically think of camping, they imagine pitching a tent in the woods and cooking over a raging campfire. This style of camping is best for those outdoors enthusiasts that want to respect and honor the nature that they’re partaking in. Head for the hills with your tents in tow, and don’t forget to camp with the best interests of curious animal friends in mind during your stay.

Backpacking

A backpacker standing on a cliff as the sun rises.

Load up your backpack and go explore. [Image: http://www.travellinguide.com/photo-3162-1-the-15-best-backpacking-destinations-in-2015.html]

For those adventurers looking for a challenge and deeper connection to nature, backpacking is the best type of camping to take advantage of. A pair of reliable hiking boots, a backpack stuffed with lightweight camping gear, and good company are all you need before you set off on a backpacking adventure. Part hiking, part camping, it’s perfect for those who like to make a plan and stick to it—set your hiking course, figure out where you want to set up camp come nightfall, and you’re ready to go!

Whether you’re looking to get down and dirty in the woods or want to have a taste of nature with the comforts of your home, this list should help give you an idea of what type of camping you’re most suited for. Browse our Gear Store to get any last minute camping necessities, and don’t forget to download our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps before you head out to find an accommodating campsite near you!

The Nitty Gritty About Survival Kits

Survival kit essentials and backpack [Image: thenexttrailhead.com/post/45569963707/diy-first-aid-wilderness-survival-kit]

Image: thenexttrailhead.com/post/45569963707/diy-first-aid-wilderness-survival-kit

Heading into the great outdoors? In addition to your first aid kit, don’t forget to pack a survival kit! While everyone has preferences of what they like to include in their personal survival kit, here’s a list of our 11 must-haves.

1. Lighter

A small plastic lighter can make all the difference in an emergency. Also consider packing a magnesium starter or a book of matches as back-up.

2. Cell Phone

Cell phones are practically mandatory survival items these days. Just don’t forget to bring a charger. For more remote locations, a satellite phone may be necessary.

3. Iodine Tablets

In addition to bringing enough water, fill a small pill bottle with iodine tablets. Iodine tablets are perfect for survival kits because they are way easier to pack than a water filter. These tablets don’t add the best taste to water, but they will get you through those areas where drinking water isn’t readily available.

Two hikers on the trail in the evening [Image: Image: outdoorgearmadness.com/petzl-myo-rxp-review]

Image: outdoorgearmadness.com/petzl-myo-rxp-review

4. Flashlight

What you thought was a day hike turns into an overnight affair. That’s when you’re really going to need your flashlight and/or headlamp. Just don’t forget to pack extra batteries!

5. Knife

A pocket knife is good. A multi-tool knife is great.

6. Tinder

Whether you bring along some homemade fire starter or a vial of emergency tinder tablets, dry kindling will be a godsend when you’re looking to start a fire.

If your day hike turns midway into a camping trip, you'll be glad you packed a survival kit. [Image:  www.exposureguide.com/outdoor-photography-tips.htm]

If your day hike turns midway into a camping trip, you’ll be glad you packed a survival kit. [Image: www.exposureguide.com/outdoor-photography-tips.htm]

7. Energy Bar

Stash an energy bar or two into your survival kit. When the going gets rough, an energy bar will feel like a feast.

8. Compass & Maps

Even the best technology can fail, which is why bringing along a compass and map is so essential. Before hitting the trail, be sure that you are packing the most up-to-date map!

9. Waterproof Shell

Even if the forecast says sunny, pack a light, waterproof outer shell. This shell should also act as a windbreaker.

After a day like this, you'll be so glad you packed extra socks. [Image: treelinebackpacker.com/2014/08/09/backpacking-in-the-rain]

After a day like this, you’ll be so glad you packed extra socks. [Image: treelinebackpacker.com/2014/08/09/backpacking-in-the-rain]

10. Water Bottle

If you’ve got the space, bring an extra water bottle. You never know when you’ll need an extra container.

11. Extra Hiking Socks

Knowing you’ve packed a pair of dry hiking socks may be the ticket to getting you through those downtrodden moments on the trail. Thick socks can also double as mittens.

Many of these items and more can be found within our Pocket Ranger® Gear Store! Or take our 2-minute Pocket Ranger® Survey and you could win a $350 gift certificate to Backcountry.com!

Leave No Trace

How do you keep the wilderness wild when millions of outdoor enthusiasts visit state and national parks each year? The Center for Outdoor Ethics created a solution to this problem with their national educational program, Leave No Trace. The Leave No Trace program promotes and inspires good ethical practice when in the backcountry. By following these guidelines, you ensure a gratifying and lasting outdoor experience for all.

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

Like any trip, planning before you arrive at your destination is key.

  • Acquaint yourself with park regulations. You can easily access this information through any of our free Pocket Ranger® apps.
  • Be prepared for extreme weather and emergencies. Pack a first aid kit and a survival kit that includes a flashlight with extra batteries, whistle, multi-tool pocket knife, maps, lighter, fire starters, and iodine tablets.
  • Respect the physical limits of your hiking group by planning a trip that’s compatible with the group’s skill level.
Backpacker in sunlit field [Image: sojourningabroad.wordpress.com]

Image: sojourningabroad.wordpress.com

  • Careful meal planning and packaging is so important when out in the backcountry. Pack only the food you need to minimize waste while you’re out on the trail.
  • Try to visit the outdoors in small groups. This is especially applicable to backpacking trips. If you are a larger group heading into the wilderness, break off into smaller groups to reduce impact on the environment. Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use on the trail.
  • Refrain from marking your trail with paint, cairns or flagging, and instead use a map, compass or your Pocket Ranger® app. In addition to a compass feature, the Pocket Ranger® apps offer users advanced GPS features that can even be used offline!

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Trampling down an area’s vegetation can result in some undesirable results, such as barren areas and soil erosion. Help preserve the environment by following these tips:

  • In wilderness areas of high use, stick to established trails and campsites. Established campsites can come in a few different forms, such as raised wooden platforms, rock, gravel, dry grasses and snow. Walk single-file on trails and try to stick to the center of these trails. This prevents the trail from further eroding the surrounding landscape.
Hikers on a trail in the woods [Image: www.tripleblaze.com/blog/2013/07/14/how-to-follow-leave-no-trace-principles]

Image: www.tripleblaze.com/blog/2013/07/14/how-to-follow-leave-no-trace-principles

  • However, when camping and hiking through pristine or fragile environments, the opposite is true. Avoid making established trails or campsites by dispersing your impact on the environment. Do not camp or travel in places where impacts are just beginning to show.
  • Whether in high use or low use areas, always make sure to camp at least 200 feet from lakes and streams. This protects the waterbody and riparian areas (the land near a waterbody) from damage and contamination.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

This principle could be the golden rule of the backcountry: Whatever you pack in, you must pack out! This includes all trash, leftover food, toilet paper (both used and unused), and hygiene products.

  • Before leaving a campsite or rest area, check around for any trash or spilled food you may have missed.
  • Solid human waste should be deposited in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep. These catholes must be at least 200 feet from water, campsite and trails. After use, cover and disguise catholes.
Always clean up after yourself when outdoors. [Image: bartramcanoetrail.blogspot.com/2013/10/people-fish-camp-trash.html]

Always clean up after yourself! [Image: bartramcanoetrail.blogspot.com/2013/10/people-fish-camp-trash.html]

  • Got dishes? Need a shower? To clean either yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lake, and use only small amounts of biodegradable soap. When finished cleaning or bathing, do not dump this dirty water back into the stream or lake! Doing so would contaminate the natural water source. Instead, strain and then scatter the water at least 200 feet (or 80 to 100 strides) from its source.

4. Leave What You Find

Look, but don’t touch! Preserve the past by leaving natural and historic structures and artifacts as they are. This ensures that other visitors to the area will have the same sense of discovery.

  • Leave rocks, plants, feathers and other natural objects just as you find them.
  • Don’t transport non-native species with you! Non-native species frequently become invasive. These invasive species can critically damage the ecosystem.
  • A good campsite is found, not made. Do not dig trenches or build structures, such as lean-tos, tables or chairs.

5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

While many believe that a roaring campfire is essential to a great camping trip, fire is not always permitted in backcountry area. Before lighting a fire, always check with park regulations.

  • If fires are allowed, use only established fire rings, fire pans or mound fires. Keep your campfire small and manageable.
  • Hold off on the huge logs! The Center for Outdoor Ethics recommends using sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
Can you spot the two campfire faux pas in this photo? [Image: lnt.org/blog/campfire-challenge]

Can you spot the campfire faux pas in this photo? [Image: lnt.org/blog/campfire-challenge]

  • Burn all the wood and coals in your campfire to ash and put out the fire completely. Then scatter the cool ashes.
  • As for cooking outdoors, use a lightweight camp stove. A lightweight camp stove (rather than a bulky camp stove) will also be a blessing for your back!

6. Respect Wildlife

It’s certainly exhilarating to come across wildlife when outdoors. For everyone’s safety and enjoyment, follow these guidelines for wildlife sightings:

  • Always observe wildlife from a distance. Never approach or follow wildlife.
  • Never feed wildlife! Feeding wildlife can make wild animals dependent on humans, creating opportunities for potentially dangerous encounters.
Black bear takes over picnic at campsite [Image: http://forum.wakarusa.com/showthread.php?11815-ARTICLE-Black-Bears-Tear-Into-Tents-at-Wakarusa]

Don’t let your favorite breakfast cereal become theirs. [Image: forum.wakarusa.com/showthread.php?11815-ARTICLE-Black-Bears-Tear-Into-Tents-at-Wakarusa]

  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing food rations and securely.
  • If you bring pets with you, make sure you have control of them at all times. In many places, leashes are required.

7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

While you may head into the backcountry to be alone in the great outdoors, chances are you may come across a few other outdoor enthusiasts.

  • Respect other visitors to the area. Be courteous and yield to other hikers on the trail.
  • Take breaks and camp away from the trails and other visitors. Avoid making loud noises or speaking in loud voices when in the backcountry. Keeping your voice low not only helps others enjoy their time in the wilderness, but also increases your chances of seeing wildlife.
  • If you encounter pack stock in the backcountry, step to the downhill side of the trail.

Any adventure in the outdoors is going to require some quality gear. By taking the Pocket Ranger® State Park Visitor Survey you could win a $350 gift certificate to Backcountry.com!

The Boulder Hat Trick: Three Peaks In One Day

Contributed by Michael Restivo of Mike off the Map

Panoramic view of mountain range [Image Credit: Michael Restivo]

Image Credit: Michael Restivo

Set on the western edge of Boulder, Colorado, the Boulder Range rises above the plains, silhouetting the city behind forested, rocky peaks, rolling foothills, and the city’s iconic Flatirons. The traverse between Mt. Sanitas to the north and South Boulder Peak, the last of the range, spans over 16-miles of rugged trails, steep ascents, and scrambling across pointed ridges. While some are content with bagging one of these peaks and calling it a day, my hiking companion Tony and I decided we wanted to bag three – in less than 12 hours. We would start with Bear Peak, traverse to South Boulder, and then finish on Mt. Sanitas. While we decided to skip the other two peaks, Flagstaff and Green, for the sake of time, the climbs were a stout, calf-testing ascent that saw us walk the northernmost and southernmost edges of the range. This is how we bagged the Boulder Hat Trick.

Bear Peak

Summit in the Boulder Mountain Range [Image Credit: Michael Restivo]

Image Credit: Michael Restivo

We started at 7:30 from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) parking lot, sitting on a hill at the heart of Boulder Mountain Park. Our plan was to combine the NCAR, Table Mesa, and Fern Canyon Trails which would lead us to one of the steeper sides of Bear Peak. The morning was magnificently clear and we only encountered one other party and several trail runners as we exited the forest into a grassy valley just under the pointed summit. Though it was well into spring, the summit still had patches of visible snow.

The path gives way to a vast landscape of hills, troughs, and ridges, leading up to the twin summits of Bear and South Boulder Peaks, connected by a saddle. As soon as we turned into Fern Canyon, a passage surrounded by moss-covered boulders and rocky ledges, the climb became progressively steeper, hiking turned to scrambling, and the trail became uneven and rudimentary. After ascending to the saddle where Rocky Mountain National Park spread before us in the distance, the last quarter-mile bee-lined above the trees in a march that was reminiscent of Washington’s Mailbox Peak. Just before the summit, a low-class-3 scramble had us on hands and feet, clambering up a windy exposed ridge, which lead to the exposed pinnacle. We had bagged peak number one.

South Boulder Peak

Summit at Boulder Mountain Range [Image Credit: Michael Restivo]

Image Credit: Michael Restivo

Just behind Bear Peak, South Boulder Peak rises above a charred wilderness, capping the southern side of the Boulder Range. The two peaks connect by half a mile, however South Boulder exceeds it’s sister by just under 100-feet, making it the highest of the five peaks. From Bear, a downward scramble joins the trail, which connects the saddle between the two mountains. With the burned remains of a forest at the start of its regrowth, the saddle becomes a steep uphill across a barely defined trail, blackened branches, and mesmerizing views of the Rockies on one side and the Boulder plains on the other. A swift scramble across a rust-colored ridge arrives at a sharp pinnacle, which overlooks the range all the way to Sanitas. Now midday, we rejoined to Bear, and swiftly descended back to the car. We got peak number two.

Mt. Sanitas

Summit at Boulder Mountain Range [Image Credit: Michael Restivo]

Image Credit: Michael Restivo

While Mt. Sanitas should have been the easiest, our already tired legs made this last peak the physically toughest of the three. An afternoon storm was descending and we had to move fast to beat the rain and bag our last peak of the day. Mt. Sanitas is a family-friendly trail that’s moderately steep in sections, but not as exposed as Bear or South Boulder. The small mountain makes up the northernmost point of the range and has a mesmerizing view over Boulder. The climbing started right away from the trailhead, ascending over rock ledges, spaced wooden beams, and short flat sections that gave way to minor scrambles. Our fatigue was obvious as we fell behind other hikers, but pushed through a final ascent that led to the marker pole at the summit. While others reveled in climbing the easiest peak in the range, we opened our two beers and sat against a rock, too exhausted to sit on the actual ledge, and looked back towards the south. Excluding the time we took for lunch, we had done the three peaks in just over six hours, a time that could see room for a faster finish. We just finished peak number three.

Hiker summits Boulder Range [Image Credit: Michael Restivo]

Image Credit: Michael Restivo

While we’re proud of our hat trick, we still have many more up our sleeves. Next we’re going to try connecting all five in a massive 9-12 hour push which will see us connecting several trails from South Boulder across Flagstaff to Sanitas. Here in Boulder, big adventure is just minutes from my doorstep.

Hanging out with Llamas and Alpacas

Llamas walking around the ancient fortress of Kuelap in Peru

Llamas walking around the ancient fortress of Kuelap in Peru. [Image: Cynthia Via]

Hanging out with llamas and alpacas is nothing short of endearing as they peek out with their furry long necks. They are grand companions for the road, or “silent brothers,” as the Andean people call them. Llamas (pronounced “yama”) have been around for millions of years first originating in North America, then migrating to South America. Their close cousin, Alpacas are native to the Andes mountains of Peru, Bolivia and Chile. They were mostly bred for their fibers, whereas the llamas were pack animals used during the pre-Columbian era. The Incan Empire in Peru heavily depended on the use of llamas  for transporting goods, crops and other materials between remote villages. Alpacas were vital to the Incas by providing one of the strongest and softest animals fibers, great for making sweaters, especially needed in the cold sierra mountains. They also served as companions for young children and small animals. Llamas and alpacas are symbolic to the indigenous cultures of South America and represent a way of life.

 

Affection for these animals has spread to North America and Europe thanks to hiking and farming initiatives. Hiking with llamas is not only environmentally friendly since they don’t damage the land when grazing or walking, they are also accustomed to high altitude, and are less stubborn than mules and horses. They can alert us when a herd of animals approach in the distance. Llamas are mostly peaceful, curious animals (although they can spit for hierarchical reasons within their herd) and great for people trekking long distance, who can’t endure heavy equipment such as older folks, children and those with disabilities. While an average llama of 300 pounds can carry about 75 pounds (25 percent its weight), it’s not recommended alpacas carry heavy loads since they’re smaller, and less accustomed to taking long hikes. However, many farms allow visitors to feed alpacas and take them for short walks. Alpacas are docile, calm, non-aggressive to humans, and they are able to learn tricks. They are especially therapeutic for children.

If you’re ready to embrace the alpaca’s or the llama’s chill attitude, walk along with them in one these parks or farms!

Llama Trekking

Jackson Hole Llamas offers llama trekking trips in Wyoming through five areas in Yellowstone National Park and Jedediah Smith Wilderness. Llamas will carry your gear as you walk with them, so you can enjoy views of wildflower meadows, forests, waterfalls, geothermal areas, and alpine lakes. Their website even shows off a variety of llamas each with a quirky character description. Similarly, Yellowstone Safari Company offers llama treks in the northern parts of the park, including Black Butte Creek Trail, Specimen Creek and Black Canyon. Swan Mountain Llama Trekking offers short trails and multi-day treks through Montana’s Glacier Country. Some of their longer trails go through Flathead National Forest, Glacier National Park, Great Bear and the Mission Wilderness Areas. They even have a 3-hour wine & cheese llama trek.

The video below illustrates how backpacking with llamas can be a smooth hike.

 

 

Alpaca Walks

Alpacas on the trail. [Cynthia Via]

Alpacas on the trail. [Image: Cynthia Via]

Though alpaca trail packs are rare, some farms allow visitors to feed, pet and take them on short walks. Since most alpacas spend their time within farms, they’ll need a bit of training. If you have your own alpaca, walking is a great way to exercise and build a relationship with them. Walking with alpacas is beneficial for children especially those with autism. In the presence of alpacas, children tend to walk longer and be more invested in the moment.

If you’re in Garret County in Maryland, visit Blue Bell Farm where you can view and walk alongside alpacas as they graze picturesque hills and woodlands. The STARanch Alpaca Trek allows visitors to walk with alpacas through riverbanks and trails along the Caloosahatchee River and Cypress creek in Florida. Patchwork Meadow Alpacas in the Mohawk Valley of New York allows visitors to see alpacas up close and explore their mill-spun alpaca yarn.This 33-acre farm is home to 74 alpacas.

 

If you want to have these furry friends around all the time, maybe think about owning an alpaca or llama farm or volunteering in one like these folks.

For more animal encounters download our Pocket Ranger® Apps, and check out our Instagram.