Taking a hike with a llama has long been an unticked box on my bucket list – specifically, the entry reads “hike with a llama to Machu Picchu”. But when I saw that a llama hike in the New Mexico mountains was an option, I decided that half a check was better than no check at all. But, to be technically accurate, we did follow a llama named Picchu most of the way. So it could be said that I hiked with a llama to Picchu, if not to Machu Picchu. I think that’s worth at least 3/4 of a check.
This trek did bring up the dire dilemma of the animal-loving artist. When faced with a friendly animal, what do you do? Do you pet it or draw it? Do you make funny humming llama noises with it and try to be best friends, or do you whip out your pencils and try and capture the mystery that is the llama under bite? It’s hard to do both and hike a mountain. Despite my dilemma, I’d like to think I got well acquainted with my llama, Mardi Gras, both on a personal and anatomical level. Who knew llamas hummed? Who knew they had such adorable, bow-legged, rear ends? I know now, and I’m better for it.