I've never gone camping, and the idea of walking and camping has always been ruined by the thought of carrying heavy stuff. Getting an animal to carry everything seems like a great solution, but, of course, you have to relate to the animals and take good care of them. Are they really completely adorable? Hmmm....
The travel writer, Helen Olsson, went with her husband and 3 little kids into the San Jan Mountains near Silverton, Colorado, exactly where we were last month.
Bears tend to avoid campsites with llamas. When threatening wildlife approaches, llamas sound a piercing alarm cry.And the mountain lions? When we saw a mountain lion around those parts, it had been eyeing some cattle. It might have liked llama.
And here's another thing:
Redwood Llamas... offers full-service pack trips that include guide, tents, llamas and meals for $4,000 for four people, four days, or $1,000 a person per day.$1,000 a person per day? That's 4x what we spent in beautiful luxury at the Ritz-Carleton in Bachelor Gulch — with all the Colorado hiking and scenery during the day and dinner at Spago every night and room-service breakfast on a private balcony every morning.
Less costly is the drop-camp option: The guide leads you in and out; you bring gear and food. A three-day trip in July cost $1,075.So, you get the equivalent of the hotel only — no food — for $358 a night. That's pretty close to the room rate in the summer at the Ritz-Carleton. And here's where we stayed in Silverton, at the Wyman Hotel, where we paid $183 per night for a very charming room that looked out over the street that is a national landmark.
So llamas are a luxury, a big luxury, even as you are roughing it. You've got to want to do it just as much as you'd like to stay at the Ritz. Your choice.