Top 14 Llama-inspired utterances


On the Muir Trail, you encounter a huge number of people (we’ll come back to that later) and it is the rare hiker who says nothing.  Here, in something like reverse order of occurrence, are the most common statements:

14. “Do they carry their feed?” [No, they carry my feed.]

13. “You sure have strange horses.” [And is that hump on your back permanent? It is really unflattering]

12. “Are you a resupply?” [No.  That is left for less charismatic animals like mules]

11. “How did you get them here?” [Helicopter, of course]

10. “Are they yours?” [Only for a few days, then we return them to the orphanage like in Despicable Me]

9. “Can I pet them?” [Not the way you mean.  Sometimes you can stroke their necks, but leave the heads alone]

8. “Where did you get them?” [GG’s friend’s response: ‘we found them wandering on the trail’]

7. “Do they spit?” [Only when confronted by that question.  Otherwise they only spit at other llamas, so don’t get between angry llamas]

6. “Why are you wearing a pack if they are carrying all that stuff?” [It’s just for show to prove we are hiking.  Actually, the pack is light but has grain in case llamas wander off, lunch, sunscreen, spare camera battery, water, more water, snacks, rain gear, knife, a UV water purifying pen–basically most of the stuff I might need on the trail.]

5. “How much can they carry?” [We aren’t sure; none have collapsed yet under the weight.  But we are told to limit things to 50-60 pounds generally]

4. “They’re so cute!” [Aww, how nice.  You missed them using the llama-loo just down the trail, so watch your step]

3. “Are they llamas or alpacas?” [We were told llamas, but if you can tell the difference, let us know if we’ve been misled.  After all, “alpaca” sounds like the start of “I’ll pack a bunch of stuff for you”]

2. “Can I take a picture?” [Could we stop you? No?  Then sure, take a picture. We could probably have paid for the trip by charging a $10 llama-photo fee]

And so the number one thing people say when they spot llamas on the trail:

1. “Llamas!” [No kidding.  We could hear the cry from hundreds of feet away.  The strangest was “Camels!”. Really?  Camels? Guys, you need to read more books with pictures]


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  1. Mountains that Remade America | The Grumpy Geophysicist - April 20, 2017

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