What: 2009 Backcountry Llama Rendezvous and Drive-in.
When: September 11-13, 2009
Where: Ensign Ranch, Cle Elum, Washington
Why: To learn and educate others about llamas, and have fun doing so.
About Ensign Ranch
Ensign Ranch is a 320 acre ranch situated along the Yakima River and easily accessible from I-90. We will be camping in Yakima Meadows along the Yakima River, pictured to the right (click to enlarge). The river is behind the tents in the photo. Alternate lodging options are available, including bunkrooms, cabins, A-frames, and Teepees. In addition to the Yakima River, the ranch has two lakes and a big creek (creatively named "Big Creek"). The larger lake is nearby on the other side of Yakima Meadows (on right in photo) where we will be camped and has a bridge to an island (with Teepees). Canoes and paddle boat are available. Available alternative activities include archery, fishing, swimming (with rope swing), horseback riding (rental horses are stabled on site) and more. Restroom and shower facilities are available. A covered outdoor amphitheater stage is nearby for our multimedia presentations.
For alternate lodging and other camp rental fees, see the ranch fee schedule.
Note: The ranch has certain restrictions, notably, no dogs, alcohol or smoking on premises. Campfires are in established rings only (at least 10 will be available for use in our camp area).
As with recent years, this a combined event. In addition to backcountry llama packers we invite and encourage llama drivers to attend as well and bring their carts.
Many trails and roads meander throughout the property, some paved. This is a great area for driving your llamas.
Of course newcomers/ investigators are encouraged to attend too -- the idea is to bring together all aficionados (and interested parties) of the working llama to learn and have fun. Youth are encouraged to attend. We're again inviting 4H kids (with their llamas), though the date may be a bit more challenging for some. Most of these youth have show experience but few of them have actual exposure to llama packing or driving. This is a chance for actual hands-on education about what can be done with llamas as well as gaining more handling experience, strengthening their relationship with their llama.
We opted to not rent the lodge this year (@2X the price of last year) in order to keep costs from rising. Consequently we will not have a commercial grade kitchen available. Meals will therefore be more "rustic" compared to the past two years. But we think the change in venue will add some welcome variety.
We have resumed offering a Pack Llama Trial Association (PLTA) Pack Trial this year, for Basic, Advanced and Master Certification. This activity will be combined with a poker run for prizes. This way folks can participate just for fun, to obtain PLTA-certification, or both. Note: PLTA certification requires membership in the PLTA. (See below) Note for participants: Expect some challenging water obstacles.
Friday September 11th
Saturday September 12th
Sunday September 13th
*All times are approximate and subject to change. Participants are free to join the scheduled events above or groups may elect to take advantage of alternate activities. Some concurrent children's activities are planned.
Primary Sponsors: Backcountry Llama Association, Oakdell Egg Farm, Quality Llama Products, and Rattlesnake Ridge Ranch.
What to Bring
Some picnic tables are available outdoors but please bring a comfortable chair and your own camping and packing gear. An amphitheater is nearby with bench seating for the presentations. Main dish and beverages will be provided Friday night, and Saturday will be pot luck. A take-out lunch (build your own bag lunch of breads, peanut butter, jelly fruit and chips) on Saturday. Donations of side dishes are very welcome for additional variety. You are encouraged to share a favorite on-the-pack-trail dish (or side dish) and recipes. Hearty breakfasts will be provided onsite accepting optional donation for llama rescue and 4-H llama project fundraisers Saturday and Sunday. Saturday will include pumpkin+pecan pancakes with huckleberry syrup, bacon or sausage, and juice. Sunday will include oatmeal, eggs, sausage or bacon. Some paper products and plastic utensils will be available but supplies may be limited.
Llama pack gear is recommended (optional) for the poker run. Bring your driving equipment. The weather is expected to be about 83F on Saturday with lots of sunshine, so bring your hats, sunglasses and cameras. Forecast low is 53F at night, so some layered warm clothing is recommended. The rains typically do not arrive until after September but some light rain gear or umbrella is prudent, though no rain is in the forecast. The ground is dry. The llamas will have a grassy area. Tethers or portable corrals. Water buckets and canteen/coolers (potable water is available). Bring your GPS receiver, maps and compass.
What to Leave Behind
Important: Practice Leave no Trace principles insofar as practical. Please pick up any pellets and bits of hay before you leave and deposit all garbage in the receptacles. It's important to leave the camp area clean.
What to Order
Aside from event T-shirts, etc., Barb Brady of Llama Hardware will be at rendezvous with a limited selection of goods. If you are looking for anything in particular contact her before Wednesday the 9th to request she bring it.
Registration Fees -- Registration Form
Costs are $40 per adult for the entire weekend. Kids ages 10-18 are $15 for the weekend. Kids under 10 are free. Opt. family rate $100. Group discounts available. Members of 4-H or FFA, 50% off. Discounts also available for seminar and activity organizers. Inquire. Vendor fee $40. Fees cover the campground from 1PM Sept. 11 to 11AM Sept. 13, firewood (one armload), prizes, food, attendance and participation in all events. Please have registration (and T-shirt, etc. orders) in by Friday, 21 August 2009. After that date fees increase to $45 for adults and $20 for 10 -18.
Please make checks payable to: c/o Rattlesnake Ridge Ranch; 350 Tracie Road; Pasco, WA 99301-8895. Registration submissions are also accepted via E-mail attachment and PayPal.
Located 75 mi. SE of Seattle and 7 mi. W of Cle Elum. Take Exit 78 off I-90 to Golf Course Road, Turn North. Turn West (Left) at the “T” onto Hundley Road. You will parallel the Freeway as you drive to the end of the road, which will take you right into Ensign Ranch, address 3551 Hundley Rd. The office is straight ahead under the US Flag. The Yakima campground is beyond the office on the right (see map).
Five basic Manageability Tasks of haltering, jumping in and out of a trailer, saddling, loading packs, and being tied out on a picket line for 5 minutes.
1. Basic level - Minimum age 24 months. Llamas age 24 to 30 months will carry no weight, but will have filled out packs. Llamas over 30 months will carry 10% of body weight. Llamas will cover 3 miles, gain at least 250-500 feet elevation and negotiate a minimum of 5 obstacles; including 1 water, 1 deadfall, and 1 jump.
2. Advanced level - Minimum age 36 months, carry 15% of body weight, cover 5 miles, gain 750-1000 feet in elevation, minimum 10 obstacles; including 2 water, 1 rock rubble, 1 deadfall, 1 jump.
3. Master level - Minimum age 48 months, carry 25% of body weight (not to exceed 90 lbs.), cover 8 miles, gain 1500-2000 feet elevation and negotiate at least 12 obstacles; including 3 water, 2 jumps, 1 deadfall, 1 rock rubble, 1 brush, and 1 foot inspection.
See the PLTA website for more details.
Questions? Call Scott or Gayle at (509) 545-5903 (hm) or
September 13th to September 16th (or whenever)
Some participants are packing in to nearby Pete Lake after rendezvous. The trailhead at Cooper Lake is a short drive (less than an hour and all paved except for the last mile or two of gravel/dirt) from the Rendezvous location (via Roslyn) and is an easy five mile hike to Pete Lake, elevation 3000'. The plan is to set up base camp here and day hike to various sites nearby (more strenuous terrain), some on the Pacific Crest Trail, or the more adventurous may pack in farther. Hikes to Escondido and Spectacle lakes are planned. The very scenic Waptus Pass loop and lookout station is a good hike for the very hardy. This trip is intended for experienced/equipped packers, but backpackers interested in seeing what llama packing is all about are very welcome to join in.
Click here for a map of the hiking area (490K file). For a high resolution printable version (1.9MB) of same, click here. (Adobe Reader v9 required.)
Click here for more detail regarding the pack trip.
Want to know more? See the rendezvous pages from previous years to learn more about rendezvous, or contact us with questions.
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