Llama Trekking!

It was our wedding anniversary last week and my husband surprised me with breakfast in bed and the news that I needed to be ready to leave the house in the next hour, we were going Llama trekking.

Llama trekking is something I’ve always avoided before. I’m an animal lover and adore spending time with animals but there’s something about the thought of Llama trekking that made me wary for two reasons. Would Llamas really enjoy being taken out on what is essentially a lead, and the word ‘trekking’ brought me out in a cold sweat. I have a disability and am not very mobile. I can’t stand for long, walk very far and I thought I”d never keep up. My husband reassured me that we were booked on to the shortest walk, the terrain would be flat. I would be fine. But would the Llamas?

The first thing that struck me when we arrived at Catanger Llamas was how incredibly clean and welcoming it was. Mary, the owner, and Sarah who led the trek were super friendly, the Llama’s clearly adored them and you could see the feeling was mutual. They willingly approached Sarah and lowered their heads for their harnesses and eagerly waited to be paired up with their humans. Before we set off we were given some background information on Llamas – how they live in the wild compared to their daily routine at Catanger. Every concern I had was addressed and I couldn’t wait to meet my Llama, Pogo, while my husband was introduced to Yarrow.

By the time we headed off, we had stood for around ten minutes listening to instructions and this was the hardest bit for me, standing still is more painful than walking slowly. I’m sure I would have been given a chair if I’d asked for one, Sarah was absolutely lovely.

Our group was small, I think there were 13 of us including several small children and a couple of older participants. The pace was, by anyone else’s standards, slow, but it was as fast as I could go. I chose to stay at the back and I didn’t feel rushed at all. Pogo loved our leisurely pace, taking the opportunity to munch on the leaves as we sauntered past the trees. At the hallway point the Llamas stopped to snack and we were able to take photos before we headed back. The walk took around 40 minutes although there are longer treks on offer.

Afterwards, we were invited into the fields to meet the younger Llamas and learn about their training. The Llamas we had taken out had their harness removed but they chose to follow us. I really enjoyed the experience and am already looking forward to returning. I’d highly recommend Catanger Llamas. Animal welfare is paramount to them and it shows. The Llamas have so much land to roam in and are so well cared for. It’s a beautiful place.

Flash Fiction – Broken

Image © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

I’m broken. Exhausted. Afraid. The stench of my fear is cloying, catching in my throat. The ties binding my wrists slicing deep into my flesh.

Pain. So much pain.

The shutter rattles. He’s back. I curl into a ball as though I can fold myself away.

‘It’s time.’ He drags me outside. The brightness of the sun burns my eyes.

‘Please, Sir.’ A little girl holds out a coin to the man. ‘Can I have a photo with your monkey?’

I plead with her with my eyes – save me. She doesn’t listen. No-one ever does.

She strokes my matted fur so gently I want to weep.

 

Huge apologies for not getting around to everyone’s story last week – I usually do try. Finishing the draft of book 3 took longer than expected (doesn’t it always!) but it’s off with my agent now so I get a few days rest – hurrah!

‘Broken’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A 100 word story inspired by a photo prompt. You can join in over at host, Rochelle’s blog, here.