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Summer 2014 Letter from the Editor

The pack season is upon us (at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere), so get packing! My goal is to simply get out at least once more than I did last summer; a modest goal, to be sure, but a challenge nonetheless. For those of you also looking to get out more, this issue is full of opportunities, from pack trials and a Rendezvous to a race in Fairplay and the Leadville Trail 100 volunteer crew. If you don’t happen to be in Oregon or Colorado (where these events are taking place), this summer is the perfect time to kick start a gathering in your own neck of the woods—and when you do, be sure to let The Backcountry Llama know about it!

Bob and Nancy Russell’s BCL article from the early nineties is this issue’s From the Archives column, and it ends this way: “Yet, as of today, we do not have an organized effort under way to establish ourselves as a legitimate user group on public lands, as the Back Country Horsemen have had for many, many years. Isn’t it about time we started on it?” As far as I’m aware, we are still (22 years later) not a legitimate user group. As this is the second article in just this issue to mention the Back Country Horsemen, perhaps we could learn something from that organization in trying to get our own ranks in order.

In a similar vein, in this issue’s PLTA column, Nancy Hester talks about what makes a llama a packer and how to ensure a llama being sold as a packer really is one. While responsibility should be taken by sellers, however, the primary responsibility should rest with the buyer of an animal. Perhaps, in the late seventies and early eighties when good information on llama packing was scarce, there was some excuse for buying a sub-par pack llama. But today, a well-educated buyer ought to, with some work, be able to find a packer that fits his or her needs. I hope that The Backcountry Llama can, in some way, show newcomers what pack llamas are truly capable of.

Finally, as some of you may have heard, the lama community lost one of its most beloved members last month; Dr. Murray Fowler passed away on May 18th at age 85. He was an incredible man and he will be greatly missed.

Alexa Metrick, Editor

Read Dr. Romig's online resource for the key stepsand information sources for proper planning here.