Llama mom and baby in Peru

Living Large in the Heavenly Realm of the Llama

The summer is winding down, but my June vacation to Peru is right before me as I struggle to edit the over 600 photos I took during the trip. Llamas loom large throughout my contact sheet.

I love animals of all kind, but I have a long, complicated history with llamas.

It all started 21 years ago with Ashley and Garrett, two llamas I met on corporate boondoggle entitled, “Hiking with Llamas.” As if the magnificence of the Colorado Rockies weren’t enough, the event organizers felt compelled to spice up the hike with llamas. I took the bait.

1997 hike with llamas
1997 Corporate Boondoggle Hiking w/llamas. The Modern-Day Church Lady is in the center of the picture

During the hike, we were invited to hold Ashley or Garrett’s lead as we wound our way up the mountain path. By mid-hike, everybody pretended not to hear the guides as they offered/pleaded for someone else to take the llama’s leads. Why? Turns out Ashley and Garrett had typical iconoclastic llama personalities. The llamas needed to be pulled up the mountain, dragged over streams and spat every chance they got.

Pulling Garrett the llama up the mountain
Pulling Garrett the llama up the mountain

As one website detailing the difference between alpacas and llamas puts it, “Alpacas are very intelligent and can learn tricks. Llamas seem to be too confident/proud and arrogant for that.”Needless to say, Ashley and Garrett were quite peeved to led on a mountain path by a group of pharmaceutical sales reps.

It is with this history during that I greeted the llamas that dotted the Peruvian countryside. There were llamas everywhere. Seeing them in their untethered natural state, the llama evolved in my mind from cranky to majestic.  Here are some of my favorite llama snaps.

This little guy’s sweet face was enough to erase all memories of Ashley and Garrett

Sweet llama close up

This llama on the other hand, seems to be saying, “Who you following?” We met this llama on our 26-mile hike of the Inca trail. I am sure he is a cousin of Ashley’s.

The multicolor world of the llama

Actually, some of the “llamas” below may actually be alpacas or vicunas. The Modern-Day church lady makes no claims to being a camelid expert.

But I am fairly sure this little fuzzy fellow is an alpaca. He even looks friendly.

My son’s complicated relationship with wildlife

My son was the kind of little kid that ended up being chased by a pack of monkeys while on an African Safari. Annoying animals and people, particularly his little sister, brought him great joy. So, it was no surprise that the Peruvian llamas were wary of him.

My daughter on the other hand had a way with llamas

My daughter with a llama

She even got up front and personal with this surprisingly friendly guy. I wonder what secrets he is whispering in her ear?

llama whispering into my daughter's ear

Llamas do real work in Peru

Peruvian lady with llama

And support the home team too!

Lima was buzzing with excitement over the Peru team’s game in the World Cup. It was the first time Peru made the World Cup in 36 years! We were so sad when the team didn’t advance further.

Longing for more llamas?

Don’t worry, I’ve made a 2-minute video with a techno pan pipe beat (original music thanks to my son)!