I was looking for some adventurous things to do with my family while on a short vacation in Sevierville Tennessee. I came across "Smokey Mountain Llama Treks" while doing some research on Tripadvisor.com. The reviews were mostly good for the company so I called and booked a tour (Hummm....ride on the backs of llamas though the mountains? Never done that before, let's go!)
When we arrived there, my daughter told me that people don't ride the llamas but instead walk with them. (I'm not sure how she found out but I think she seen a sign in the office or something). I said "What? No, there must be some kind of misunderstanding, let me ask for myself." So, once we got to the area where Steve (our guide) and the llamas were, Steve introduced himself. I asked him if we ride on the llamas. Steve replied "No, unfortunately the llamas don't have the bone structure to support people on their backs". My daughter and husband were disappointed with this news and wanted to try something else with the Firefox Mountain company and went back to the office. My niece on the other hand still wanted to do the trek and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, so I told Steve "I'm so sorry, I thought that we RIDE on the llamas. Is it to late to do something else like the Bear Crawl?" He kindly replied, "I don't think so but you have to ask someone in the office, they are a different company than I am" So I told him "OK" and that I would "be right back".
I went back to the office and asked one of the people there if Steve kept the llamas there on the property or had to bring them there for us. He replied "He brought them here". My head dropped because I felt really bad for having Steve pack up his llamas and driving them all the way to Firefox Mountain to meet us there. I spoke with my husband and we decided that going on the trek was the right thing to do. So, we walked back outside and told Steve that we decided to go on the trek after all. Steve was very gracious about the whole thing. He didn't get upset and had a smile on his face the entire time. I can't say that I would. If I spent all morning grooming llamas and getting them ready for a trek, packed them up in a truck, and drove them out to a mountain only to be told that the customer changed their mind, I might be a little upset. But Steve was very professional about the whole thing.
Next, Steve introduced us to the llamas. My llama was actually an alpaca and his name was "Peanut". Peanut and the llamas were really well behaved. I was a little anxious about possibly getting kicked by one (my imagination was envisioning a donkey kick and me flying up in the air about 20 feet!) but Steve laughed and assured me that it wouldn't happen. So, we all get our llamas (and alpaca) and head to the "Creek Hollow" trail.
While on the hike, we go up some hills which weren't to difficult to walk up if your in average health. The scenery was beautiful and seeing the trees and nature was relaxing. We also crossed a long bridge made out of rope and wood planks which I thought was really fun. (I called it the Indiana Jones Bridge) We get to this area where we tied the llamas to a rope and we continued to a waterfall. Steve informed us that there may have been an old iron mine there. It was really interesting and me and my family walked up to the waterfall to take a few pictures. (to get to the waterfall, you have to be careful not to slip on slippery surfaces like mud) This was the highlight of the trip for me. I really enjoyed this, it was beautiful.
After the waterfall, we continued on a hike though the mountain and once again took in the beautiful sights. Steve was telling us things about his life and interesting stories. After the short hike, we came back to the llamas and fed them a little snack of hay squares. Steve actually held the snack in between his lips and had one of the llamas take it with their mouth. That was cute. We untied the llamas and continued on with our tour.
Over all, I'd say that it was a different and interesting experience because it was something that I've never done before. I enjoyed the hike and seeing the views of nature. I really enjoyed the waterfall. Steve was a very friendly and open person, he was also very professional when it came to dealing with our little misunderstanding in the beginning of the tour. I would recommend this tour/hike for people who like animals, nature, and hiking.
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