Dunn Family in 2001.
Dunn Family in 2016.
Arizona Backcountry Llamas is a family owned and operated business. We, Janice and Chris Dunn, are two
Arizona natives who have spent decades exploring Arizona and the west and have been packing with llamas for 25 years.
In the 1990’s we owned a hunting guide service and also provided guided llama pack trips. Now we are ready to return to sharing our love of the outdoors with anyone who is interested in exploring and learning more about the natural and cultural history of Arizona.
MEET YOUR GUIDES
I absolutely love exploring wild places and especially in my home state of Arizona. I’ve pursued and mastered about any activity that gets me outdoors. I traded a promising career in molecular biology research for a life outside and have no regrets. Throughout my life I’ve become an accomplished rock climber, hunter, mountain biker, backpacker, fly fisherman, river runner, caver, gold prospector, meteorite hunter and of course, llama packer. My numerous interests quickly became passions and took me to places I would have otherwise never experienced. In addition I have worked as an endangered species biologist, environmental consultant, a hunting guide, and have been a professor of biology at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona for almost 20 years. My career as a college professor has enabled me to share my enthusiasm for science and nature with thousands of students and returning to the guiding business is a great way to continue to share with folks who want to explore the wildlands of our diverse state. Llamas make the adventure easier and add a whole new dimension to hiking in our mountains and deserts.
I was only three years old when my parents took my family on our first camping trip. I am so thankful to my mother and father for raising me in the outdoors hiking, fishing, backpacking and for teaching me to be a good steward of the land. My husband Chris and I picked up our first llamas about 25 years ago when we realized that our knees were not able to carry the big heavy backpacks that we lugged around on our adventures. So, we bought a couple llamas and a few weeks later were on a llama pack trip loving the fact that these friendly fuzzy friends were easily carrying all of our gear. Then we had two children and the llamas allowed us to continue exploring the wildlands. Both girls went on their first wilderness llama pack trips at about one month old and have spent their lives exploring along-side us. We have raised our two girls with the same philosophy that my parents instilled in me. As a fourth grade teacher I have had the opportunity to share my love of nature as well as Arizona history with all of my students. I have been teaching for 27 years and have only three years left before I retire. It is the perfect time for us to start sharing our love of Arizona’s natural and cultural history with others and enrich the experience with our friendly llamas.
The Camels and The Llamas
OUR LLAMA BOYS
Stuart is the friendliest and most curious of all the boy llamas. He’s about 2 years old and came to us as a rescue with Cisco. He’s kind of like a little dog that thinks he’s a big dog. He likes to eat out of your hand and you can rub his soft woolly neck. He’s been on one pack trip but since he’s so small he probably won’t be doing much packing.
Dudley and Benjamin came to the ranch together in 2009 and they both have had lots of trips in the wilderness. But, at 18 years old now Dudley has reached retirement age, so he won't be heading out on the trails with you, but he could tell a lot of stories about packing in the mountains and deserts of Arizona and Colorado.
We call this boy Benjamin even though his real name is Benny. Janice changed his name because she thought he needed to be more sophisticated. He’s 15 years old now and starting to go gray but he’s just as energetic as ever. Benjamin loves going on pack trips because there are so many tasty plants out there for him to munch on. He seems a bit twitchy and nervous but he’s a great packer.
Cisco was a rescue llama and we think he is about six years old. He was very shy and wild when he joined our ranch in December 2017, but we have spent a lot of time working with him and he has already gone on his first pack trip where he seemed to prefer being the leader of his string. We are excited that he is part of our pack herd.
The Camels and The Llamas
MEET THE LADY LLAMA FRIENDS
At seven years old, Blanca is queen of the pasture. She has her dust wallow that no one else is allowed to lay in for any length of time. Though Anij tries to test her dominance, Blanca is still the head lady in the court. She is expecting her fourth cria (baby) in April 2020.
Izzy is just over two years old and is expecting her first cria (baby) in April 2020. She has the prettiest face and has such grace about her. She is calm and likes to carefully contemplate everything that is going on around her.
All five of these girls just arrived on our ranch the first part of June 2019. We bought them from Beau Baty, owner of Wilderness Ridge Trail Llamas, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. We are so excited to work and hike with them, and use them to start our pack llama breeding program.
Anij is the friendliest of our new girls. She is the first one to greet you, sniff your nose and nibble on your chin. Even though Anij is only one year old, she thinks she’s the boss of the ladies.
Roo is a big white fluffy ball of curiosity. She loves to carefully sneak a llama cookie out of your hand. You can touch her anywhere but her hind legs, but we are working on that. She is also only one year old.
Jenga loves to move along the trail to see what is around the next corner. Her grandfather is one of the top pack llamas in the country. Jenga will turn one in August, but you can already do just about anything with this brown girl because she is a sweetie.