I rode into the Mammoth area today, and had a marvelous welcome at Agnew Meadow from the pack station managers there. My mother had called Red's Meadow earlier in the week to check on whether I would be allowed to stay overnight at the pack station, and they extended an open invitation for the corrals at either place. I stopped briefly at Red's Meadow on the way in, but I really wanted to make the extra miles so that the next day's ride wouldn't be too long, and I opted to go to Agnew Meadow even though it was hard to leave behind the option of comfort and good food at Red's Meadow.
Little did I know what a warm reception was awaiting me. Ken and Karen, who manage the pack station at Agnew Meadow, went out of their way to make me feel at home. They had hay and grain available for Shyla and even let me take a shower (and have some real coffee for the first time in a long time!). I bedded down in the barn overnight, and then the next morning they cooked me a marvelous breakfast and sent me off again in style. I really loved talking to them and hearing their stories from years of packing; they both had colorful and interesting backgrounds, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them. Once again, the people that I meet along the trail are one of the best parts about this journey.
Shortly before I got to Agnew Meadow, we encountered a pack train of llamas on the trail, and I was a little worried about how the horses would react. Shyla is pretty tolerant of most things except goats (she despises goats), and Takoda has the same problem with llamas. One of our neighbors in Topanga has some llamas, so it is not like he hasn't seen them before, but something about them freaks him out. He can tell they aren't horses, and they're not dogs, but beyond that he isn't sure what they are--maybe a little like me and the UFO the night before. He managed to hold it together this time and not create too big a fuss, but he is still definitely not a fan of llamas!