I grew up on a little llama ranch two miles outside of Carbondale, Colorado. The house my parents built framed the town’s iconic Mount Sopris perfectly in the three huge picture windows of our living room, and our couch faced these windows so we always had front-row seats to the weather passing across the peaks. For my family, it has always been about the view.
When I was four and my brother was one, my folks mortgaged our house and bought two llamas after my dad read a Sports Illustrated article about people using llamas as pack animals. The llamas were a breeding pair, and my dad intended to build a pack string to help get his young family deep into the mountains he had been raised to love. This led to the invention of a llama pack saddle and a line of llama pack equipment called, naturally, Mt. Sopris Llamas (now Sopris Unlimited). Over the course of three decades, my dad trained generations of llamas to pack and traveled the country teaching people how to use pack llamas to improve their view. We still sell the equipment to packers around the world.