Online at www.smokymountainllamatreks.com
My wife, Johnna and our two great kids used to live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. But I didn’t like the fast pace of corporate America (and corporate America wasn’t so kind to me either). In 2008, I hiked the Appalachian Trail and it changed my life. I decided I wanted to own my own business and to live in Tennessee, so I started looking for a business to buy. I found Smoky Mountain Llama Treks. In January of 2012, my family drove from Michigan to Sevierville to take a llama trek and see if it was something we wanted to do. The next month, we went back to the Sevierville area and bought a home and, in late April 2012, assisted the past owner, Sandy Sgrillo, with shearing the herd. What an experience that was! In April of 2013, the deal was finalized and we moved the llamas to our new farm in Cosby.
You learn the most when things go wrong—one day we took the llamas on a trek in the National Forest on a horse trail. I have a great herd of llamas and didn’t expect any issues. While we were having lunch, we let the llamas graze on top of a grassy bald. While eating, a few horses came by and startled my new llamas and they ran off. They didn’t run far before I wrangled them, and you can be sure I didn’t let that happen again.
When we bought the business, the only animal that I had every owned or been around was a dog. My wife and I had never seen a llama before we took our trek in January of 2012, and we now have eleven llamas and one alpaca. I really enjoy talking about llamas and meeting people from all walks of life.