By Jasmine Brough, Bruce Peninsula Press ** PLEASE NOTE THAT THE LLAMA TREKKING FUNDRAISER IS POSTPONED UNTIL THE STAY-AT-HOME ORDER IS LIFTED (tentatively February 16, 2021)**
Have you ever wished you could go on a hike with a llama?
Well, now is your chance!
From February 9th – 23rd The Forty Hills Ranch will be offering llama trekking, with all proceeds going to the Lion’s Head Food Bank.
Mary and Keith Fowler own and operate The Forty Hills Ranch, with their 5 llamas and 3 alpacas. Their love of llamas began when they first went trekking themselves. The llamas’ gentle attitude, sweet disposition and athleticism won their hearts. In 2017 they began their dream by starting to build the Forty Hills Ranch. It wasn’t until July 2020 that the llamas arrived. Since then, Mary and Keith have been busy training their llamas for trekking on their 11 kms of hiking trails.
The Forty Hills Ranch has established pandemic safety protocols in order to keep everyone safe. They ask that interested parties are in the same family bubble. Groups with a minimum of two and maximum of four people can each walk with their own llama. This makes it easy to socially distance as the llamas are about 6 feet long.
Masks will be required while the llamas are being prepped and handed off to their hiker. Participants can choose a one hour trek for $70 or a two hour trek for $100. Children must be over the age of 12 to trek with their own llama. Those under 12 years of age are allowed to hike, but the llama must be led by an adult. This is available for a discounted rate of $20.
Trails are well kept and the hikes are guided by Mary and Keith to ensure hikers know their way and have no problems with their llama. If community members aren’t interested in hiking but would still like to visit the llamas and alpacas and donate to the food bank, that is also available for a discounted rate. “We’d like to offer people from the community a chance to come out and experience this and give back to the community by donating to the Food Bank,” says Mary.
Darlene Myles, volunteer coordinator of the Lion’s Head Food Bank, remarked on the support from the community during the pandemic. “I have been overwhelmed by the financial support of The Lion’s Head & District Food Bank over the past year. Our community is always very supportive of identified needs but 2020 was a year of extreme generosity!” Darlene expressed how appreciative they are of small businesses like the Forty Hills Ranch, finding creative ways to raise money for the Food Bank.
Llama trekking in support of the Lion’s Head Food Bank will run February 9 – 23 inclusive. After February 23rd the Ranch will revert to regular operations.
Check out The Forty Hills Ranch on their facebook page for more information and to book your hiking time.