Doug and Michelle Bearmar have been breeding and training llamas on their family farm since 2010. The goal at Black Mountain Pack Llamas is to provide a positive, inspiring and unparalleled llama experience - whether you’re renting, purchasing, attending an educational clinic, or visiting their farm.
Born out of Doug’s ingrained midwestern value of helping others, he and his wife decided to focus their business on meaningful problem-solving utilizing pack llamas. It is their great passion to support hikers, hunters, fishing enthusiasts, and other outdoor enthusiasts in accomplishing their most challenging goals.
How It All Began:
The Bearmar family frequently ventured deep in the backcountry of the High Sierra to rock and mountain climb, but soon Doug began feeling the backpack’s burden. His wife suggested utilizing llamas to pack in the group’s weight. Shortly thereafter, a forest service engineering group discovered several abandoned llamas in the Cleveland National Forest near their home. Michelle recruited volunteers from the San Diego Mountain Rescue team to wrangle the animals. Suddenly, the Bearmars became owners of untrained llamas!
They needed to learn quickly, so they attended a three-day Llamathan event in Silverton, Colorado hosted by the nation’s leading llama organizations specializing in breeding and backcountry packing. They formed the foundation of working knowledge they needed, met industry leaders, and developed a solid network.
After this, they spent a year delving deeply into all aspects of packing with llamas and purchased five additional llamas. Now they had enough llamas for family pack trips!
A Business Emerges
With real life experience, the Bearmar’s developed a deep admiration for the animals because their quiet ways of working allowed them to keep their dream of family treks in the High Sierra alive. Doug and Michelle then realized they wanted to share their newfound passion by expanding their family farm into a business.
In addition to operating the business, Doug and Michelle taught llama classes in the community and served as 4H leaders for years. Now Doug has shifted his volunteer focus to support large packing outfitters in training new guide recruits to lead multi-day llama treks. Doug usually dedicates two weeks per year to facilitate these immersive trainings.
The family also hosts a half day Thanksgiving hike with ten llamas for 20-30 people in the Ramona community. They enjoy brunch on the trail and then contribute their pasture-raised turkeys for a potluck gathering back at the farm in the evening. They love witnessing the energy and joy of participants experiencing their one-of-a-kind holiday llama trek.
While Doug focuses on the llamas, Michelle spends her time growing seasonal veggies and tending to pasture raised poultry. For more info on her fresh eggs, chicken, turkeys, and produce, visit FarmBlackMountain.com.
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Tuesday, June 6, 2023