When: July 1-3, 2011
Where: Cutsforth Park, Heppner, Oregon
Why: To learn and educate others about llamas, and have fun doing so.
Cutsforth Park is located about 20 miles southeast of Heppner, Oregon on the Willow Creek Road (Blue Mountain Scenic Byway) at the boundary of the 1.4 million-acre Umatilla National Forest. There's a dining hall with kitchen and fireplace, a picnic area and gazebo for large and small groups, a children's playground with play equipment, restroom facilities with showers, trails for hiking, horse pens, horseshoe pits and both a stocked pond and a stream for fishing. There are full and partial RV hookup sites, tent sites, and two cabins. Similar to our events at Emigrant Springs, the center of activity will be the dining hall and we have set aside the Eastern half of the campgrounds for camping. There is no freeway nearby so tent campers should find it relatively quiet. We are not restricted to certain areas of the park, but are free to walk or drive our llamas anywhere. There are numerous roads for driving on and off the campgrounds.
Aside from the tent camping areas set aside for us, two cabins are available nearby. These cabins are 10' X 16' with bunks (bring your own bedroll or linen for the mattress). There is no electricity or running water in the cabins but they do have propane heat and lights. Use of the heater or lights requires bringing your own propane bottle or renting one on site ($5/day). Cabin rental is $37.50 for the weekend.
See photographs taken in March 2010.
See http://www.morrowcountyparks.org/cutsforthpark.asp for more details and photographs. Campsite Map. Area Map.
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. This is a good area for driving your llamas, but note that some roads have a bit of elevation change. Note when driving your llamas that there is a 10mph speed limit.
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). 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. This is a chance for experienced llama handlers to pass their extensive llama knowledge to the younger generation.
The poker run style llama hike is a good opportunity to get some practice with your llamas so new llamas can see other more experienced llamas at work. Llamas do learn a great deal just from observation. If they are adequately desensitized to wearing packing equipment, it's suggested they be in their packing regalia for the trek. The picture to the right is from the top of Little Bald Mountain looking back on Cutsforth Park. The planned trek is not going that far or high but will make a loop past the Great Earth Shake rock formation in Hell's Half Acre. It's about three miles and the Earth Shake destination is about 1000 feet cumulative elevation above the departure point. Click on the map thumbnail below to see a topographic view, and an elevation profile next to that. For the more ambitious, one can hike to Gibson's Cave, which will be on the route for the PLTA pack trials this Fall.
The PLTA Pack Trials are being separated from rendezvous this year. This should provide a more relaxed schedule and increased focus on the seminars and hands-on interaction at rendezvous. More information about the pack trial will be provided soon.
This year the focus will be on Introduction to Packing with Llamas. Rendezvous will conclude with a nearby beginners pack trip. Plan on a short distance overnight campout as a complete learning experience. First-time llama packers welcome! Backpackers welcome!
Several experienced packers and their llamas will be part of this beginners pack trip to provide assistance and hands-on instruction. This will not be an endurance test for your llamas, but simply a short trip containing all the elements of a complete pack trip. There will be ample time to prepare, hike and set up camp at a relaxed pace. Your llamas should be basic pack trained, i.e., comfortable with wearing packs and being ground tied. The poker run the day before provides an opportunity for your llama to hike with other llamas and learn from observation. This event should provide an excellent environment for experienced packers to conduct training for inexperienced llamas.
Friday July 1st
Saturday July 2nd
Sunday July 3rd
*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. Spontaneous music may break out at any time.
What to Bring
Some picnic tables are available outdoors but please bring a comfortable chair and your own camping and packing gear. The dining hall has been rented for our use 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 fundraisers Saturday and Sunday. Saturday will include pancakes with 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 suggested (optional) for the poker run. Bring your driving equipment. The weather is expected to be up to about 75F with lots of sunshine, so bring your hats, sunglasses and cameras. Forecast low is 50F at night, so some layered warm clothing is recommended. Precipitation normally ends before late June but some light rain gear or umbrella is prudent. See the forecast. The ground is dry. The llamas will have a grassy area available, but bring hay. Tethers or portable corrals. Water buckets and canteen/coolers (potable water is available). Bring your GPS receiver, maps and compass.
Play a musical instrument suitable for folk, country or bluegrass? Bring it and be prepared to join in!
Have an innovative pack gear item or technique to share? Please be prepared to do so! Let us know and we'll add you to the demos.
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
Orders must be in before June 10 to get them made before the event.
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. Fees cover the lodge, prizes, food, attendance and participation in all events. Please have registration (and T-shirt, etc. orders) in by Friday, 10 June 2011. 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.
If you wish to reserve a particular spot in the park, call ahead to the Morrow County Parks reservation line and tell them you are with the backcountry llama group.
Located 20 miles southeast of Heppner, Oregon, at 58430 Willow Cr. Rd. There is a brown sign in Heppner at the intersection with Willow Creek Road pointing the way to Cutsforth Park, and the entrance to the park also has a sign (see photos).
Coordinates: 45.18950N 119.32179W
View Larger Map
Never been to a rendezvous before? Be sure to check out the articles written about previous events for more details.
For more information E-mail
Note: Cutsforth Park has poor cell phone coverage. A text message may get through.