From The Editor
The summer after I graduated from high school, my family went on a llama pack trip up past Marble, Colorado. It was a typical Hackbarth weekend, complete with a late start, a completely unforseen obstacle five hundred feet from the trailhead that took us over an hour to get past, a little bushwhacking, two or three missed forks in the trail and the always enjoyable hiking in the dark (the preferred way the Hackbarth clan finishes up a day in the backcountry). The trip was meant to keep the joys of llama packing fresh in my mind as I headed to college and out into the larger world. Some might say it was successful, as I continued to head east until I ended up in Japan—and that’s about as far away as you can get from Colorado before you start heading home again.
But for the last several years, I have been heading home: despite living on the east coast, Craig and I substituted a llama lunch hike for the rehearsal dinner at our wedding in Breckenridge; I took on website design duties for Sopris Unlimited and joined GALA (the Greater Appalachian Llama and Alpaca Association); and the summer after we were married, Craig joined the Hackbarths for a llama pack trip (the official requirement for entry into our family) in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains’ Huerfano Valley. In the fall of 2011, my dad (Charlie Hackbarth), Bill Redwood, Mark Pommier and I organized the 2011 Pack Llama Festival in Silverton, Colorado and I re-connected with members of the llama packing community whom I hadn’t seen since I was a kid.
A year ago, when I read in The Backcountry Llama that Dick Williams was looking to pass the publication on to someone new, I took another step closer to home and contacted him with my offer. This issue is my first, and I hope there will be many more. I’m trying out a few new things (some color pages, some regular columns, some stories about things other than llama packing) and I look forward to hearing what you think. A Letters to the Editor section will launch in the next issue, and all letters, submissions and story suggestions are welcome—please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This issue’s Public Land Use column, written by Larry Robinson, President and Treasurer of the North American PackGoat Association, discusses an issue that will sound familiar to many of us, so I’d love to hear your responses to his piece. I have also posted Dr. Murray Fowler’s article from last spring, Packer’s Responsibility, on the BCL website because it relates closely to Larry’s article.
Of course, the stories of your trips into the backcountry will always be welcome; in this issue, Greg Harford writes about trail magic on the PCT and Janet Boyhan tells the story of losing her llama, Ida, in a trailhead parking lot on the western slopes of the North Cascades. Information about the 2013 Rendezvous, which will be held in Oregon this July 19-21, is included, as well.
Please visit this site periodically to read past issues and get updates about upcoming events—and, if you have a Facebook account, “Like” the BCL and join in on the conversation online, as well.
Alexa Metrick, Editor