Self-portrait with llama.
It started, as so many things do, with The Amazing Race. It was when we saw yet another pair of racers fail to cope with a stick shift, I think, that we said "haven't these people seen the show before? Didn't they know they should expect to have to drive a stick shift?" Which led to some thinking about what other things a potential Amazing Race contestant should know to expect from having seen previous seasons of the show. This list included: ride a bicycle; dive and/or swim; climb and/or rappel on something very high; and lead, ride, and/or milk an exotic animal. These seemed things that, if applied for and we were to be selected for the Race, we would want to do before setting off.
Later, it occurred to us that we didn't need to wait for the Race. We could do these fun things on our own hook. Some of them are impossible without the Race's resources, of course, but others are available to anyone with time, money, and motivation. The first time we did this was when we ziplined in Texas, and the most recent time was today, when we took a llama trek in Smith Rock State Park near Redmond, Oregon.
This trek was a surprise birthday present from me to Kate. The birthday was in March, the surprise was at the party a week beforehand (I made all the arrangements in advance, then sprang it on her at the party), and the actual trek was in April when the weather would be more likely to cooperate. We had nearly perfect weather, as it turned out; sunny with temperatures in the sixties.
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