Pack Animal Magazine

FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Spring 2020
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Spring 2020

by Alexa Metrick (Spring 2020)

I’m on the left, leading JP, and on the right is my eldest daughter leading Sunrise—with a doll in a pannier pocket in both shots. It is sometimes difficult to describe the impact growing up on the trail with llamas had on me, but maybe the fact that I’m trying to give my girls what I had says it all. Or enough, anyway.

From The Editor, Winter 2019
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Winter 2019

by Alexa Metrick (Winter 2019)

When I was a kid, we’d kick off every packing season with a Pack Festival, where all the llama packers from miles around would gather for a weekend in the mountains. We would share knowledge, make memories, and build community during these weekends.

From The Editor, Fall 2019
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Fall 2019

by Alexa Metrick (Fall 2019)

Every time I start putting together an issue of Pack Animal, I’m amazed at what you people are getting out there and doing. In fact, I have to keep adding pages to fit it all in!

From The Editor, Summer 2019
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Summer 2019

by Alexa Metrick (Summer 2019)

I’ve just returned home from the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Rendezvous in Boise, Idaho—and, boy, was it a blast! I met some great people, learned a lot, and spread the word about Pack Animal. If you were there and didn’t see me, I’m sorry we missed each other. If we *did* meet up at the Rendezvous, there’s a good chance I recruited you for an article or two, so start writing! :-)

From The Editor, Spring 2019
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Spring 2019

by Alexa Metrick (Spring 2019)

A few years ago, we vacationed in Idaho and were stunned by its beauty, especially the Sawtooth Range. We spent a few nights in the little town of Stanley for some day hikes and I kicked myself for not bringing my fly rod when I caught sight of the Salmon River. This issue’s cover story, about a hunt in those gorgeous mountains, has put the destination back at the top of the list for me—and I suspect it will for you, too, regardless of whether or not you hunt.

From The Editor, Winter 2018
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Winter 2018

by Alexa Metrick (Winter 2018)

This isn’t your typical winter issue cover shot, but when I saw Cathy Mitkovska’s picture of her daughter in a costal rainforest, I knew it needed to be out in front. In addition to being completely charming, her photograph conveys peace, renewal, and calm reflection—feelings that are often associated with the winter season (and, I might add, something we could all use right now).

From The Editor, Fall 2018
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Fall 2018

by Alexa Metrick (Fall 2018)

I just returned from my second year as a member of the Hopeless Crew, the group of llama packers who supply and staff the highest aid station of the Leadville Trail 100 race. Mark Brindley joined us from Australia this year—he’s one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met and also one of the most entertaining, so he was useful on several fronts. If you’ve been thinking about joining us, let Mark be your inspiration. We’d love to have your help next year!

From The Editor, Summer 2018
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Summer 2018

by Alexa Metrick (Summer 2018)

This issue’s cover story, about two friends growing up together on the trail, might be my favorite feature of the past five years. Not only do I identify with the experience of growing up packing with llamas, but I love the mix of adventure and philosophical musings. Feel free to drop us a line and let us know what you think (about this or any other story) by emailing me at alexa@packanimalmagazine.com.

From The Editor, Spring 2018
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Spring 2018

by Alexa Metrick (Spring 2018)

Our website is up and running, we (still) have a blog and a facebook page, and I’m on Instagram. Considering that we packers are usually fairly solitary Luddites, I’d say that’s more than enough. But I want you to know that we love hearing from you, whether it be about an article we ran, your upcoming event, an issue you think needs to be covered, or if you’d simply like to heap praises on our work. Please contact us through any of the social media platforms or by emailing me at alexa@packanimalmagazine.com.

From The Editor, Winter 2017
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Winter 2017

by Alexa Metrick (Winter 2017)

Welcome to the very last issue of The Backcountry Llama. Our cover story, about pack goats working with a volunteer trail crew, is a great example of what this magazine has become over the last five years: a place for stories about people getting out with their pack animals, exploring the great outdoors with what one of our new columnists, Clancy Clark, calls a “hiker’s companion.”

From The Editor, Fall 2017
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Fall 2017

by Alexa Metrick (Fall 2017)

Ah, summer... “Those lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer,” as Nat King Cole calls them. I’m currently scrambling to get this issue to the printer before I join the Hopeless Crew at the Leadville Trail 100 Run aid station at Hope Pass. It’s just the latest in a long line of mad scrambles for me this summer, but it sure made for an exhilarating couple of months. I have so much to report!

From The Editor, Summer 2017
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Summer 2017

by Alexa Metrick (Summer 2017)

My eldest daughter, who recently turned four, loves to play a make-believe game she calls Camping—it requires her to load up a backpack full of books, hike to her room, and then instruct whomever she roped into playing with her in the nuances of how to set up camp, from inflating the pads to building a fire for roasting marshmallows. It’s a fairly exhausting game for the grownup (much like the real thing, actually). But I love that she enjoys camping so much she’s turned it into one of her games.

From The Editor, Spring 2017
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Spring 2017

by Alexa Metrick (Spring 2017)

Spring has sprung and we’re pulling out our gear and getting ready to hit the trails. Once we get there, however, let’s take a moment to appreciate the work (much of it underpaid or volunteer) it takes to make those trails possible. All four issues this year will feature stories about what it takes to keep our public lands, access points, trails, and campsites up and running, from the hard labor of trail maintenance to the hard work of policy and management.

From The Editor, Winter 2016
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Winter 2016

by Alexa Metrick (Winter 2016)

The final issue in this year’s focus on different trail users talks about wheelchair access. It’s a great article, written by two Colorado women who hit the trails in wheelchairs, and they list some great resources for those wanting to do the same.

From The Editor, Fall 2016
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Fall 2016

by Alexa Metrick (Fall 2016)

My family managed to get out quite a bit this season, and we ended the summer on a high note, borrowing four pack llamas from John Myers (of Llamas Colorado) for a trip into the Mount Massive Wilderness outside of Leadville, Colorado. Our girls (ages 3.5 years and 10 months, in photo at left) did a great job, both on the trail and in camp, but Craig and I were happy to have Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle along with us—getting out with small children is a lot of work!

From The Editor, Spring 2016
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Spring 2016

by Alexa Metrick (Spring 2016)

Last year the feature stories in the BCL focused on different pack animals; this year the focus is on different backcountry user groups: the retiree, the disabled, families with infants and small children, and families with teenagers. We’re kicking the year off with advice from Diane Spicer, author of the Hiking for Her website, about how to get the most out of hiking during your golden years.

From The Editor, Winter 2015
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Winter 2015

by Alexa Metrick (Winter 2015)

Happy holidays from snowy Colorado! This issue was a lot of fun to put together, and I hope it entertains you during the winter lull before the pack season begins again.

From The Editor, Fall 2015
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Fall 2015

by Alexa Metrick (Fall 2015)

I’m writing this in the middle of an August heat wave, but I know autumn is right around the corner—dusk is rolling in earlier each night and NFL preseason has started. I don’t know where the summer went, but time does seem to speed up as we age (wait, does that mean I’m getting old?).

From The Editor, Summer 2015
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Summer 2015

by Alexa Metrick (Summer 2015)

Despite the solid month of rain the Denver area has gotten, we are headed into peak packing season. I hope you all have made plans to get out on the trails as much as possible this summer (the rain will stop eventually, won’t it?).

From The Editor, Spring 2015
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Spring 2015

by Alexa Metrick (Spring 2015)

I’m working on some exciting stuff for 2015, and this issue’s lead story is a perfect example: Doug Baum’s story on trekking with camels is the first of several stories on non-llama packing companions. If all goes well, you’ll see stories about packing with yaks, reindeer and sled dogs this year, as well!

From The Editor, Winter 2014
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Winter 2014

by Alexa Metrick (Winter 2014)

Happy Holidays, dear readers! I hope you all enjoy your time with family and friends this season and have a wonderful end to 2014. In this winter issue, the new PLTA President gives us an update on the organization as well as a story about the Jarbidge Wilderness—a place I never knew existed, but now want to visit. We also have advice for winter camping and a great recipe for beef jerky that will keep your energy up on the hike in.

From The Editor, Fall 2014
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Fall 2014

by Alexa Metrick (Fall 2014)

In many parts of the country, the pack season is coming to a close—unless you are like Carlton or Kaltenbaugh and pack in the snow (their stories on pages 4 and 20). I’d love to hear about your season’s adventures—drop me a line.

From The Editor, Summer 2014
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Summer 2014

by Alexa Metrick (Summer 2014)

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!

From The Editor, Spring 2014
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Spring 2014

by Alexa Metrick (Spring 2014)

In mid-February I attended Mark Lance’s presentation, Chasing Cutthroats and Wrangling Llamas in the Weminuche Wilderness, at a Trout Unlimited’s Denver Angling Society luncheon. Mark is a photographer, writer, editor, fly fisherman and llama packer and his presentation, photos and stories are wonderful. He is enthusiastic in his admiration of llamas as pack animals and, when we spoke after his presentation, he generously agreed to let me use one of his photos for the cover of this issue. I hope you’ll be seeing more from Mark in future issues.

From The Editor, Winter 2013
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Winter 2013

by Alexa Metrick (Winter 2013)

Welcome to the final issue of 2013! Now that winter is upon us, we have a few quiet months to plan for next year—and this issue is full of ideas to get you started.

From The Editor, Fall 2013
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Fall 2013

by Alexa Metrick (Fall 2013)

We just got home from a three-day trip along the south fork of Colorado’s Conejos River—gorgeous country, great weather and a beautiful river to fish on. And now I know, first-hand, why my parents first started packing with llamas: they make it so easy to get out into the backcountry with a young family.

From The Editor, Summer 2013
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Summer 2013

by Alexa Metrick (Summer 2013)

Welcome to the summer issue of The Backcountry Llama! I hope you have already escaped into the backcountry with your animals or have plans to do so in the immediate future. At the end of May, my husband and I—along with our new baby, Zoë—moved from New Jersey to my home state of Colorado. While I hope my family will get at least one trip into the Rockies this summer, at the very least I’ll get to live vicariously through the stories you send me about yours.

From The Editor, Spring 2013
FROM THE EDITOR

From The Editor, Spring 2013

by Alexa Metrick (Spring 2013)

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.