Earlier in the summer, I caught wind of a rumour that there was an alpaca farm somewhere around Fort Smith. Now, alpacas are one of the most awesome animal species on the face of the planet (comparable even to leafy seadragons).
The minute I heard about this farm, visiting it became my #1 mission in life. Mostly, I had to the chance to see a bunch of alpacas while I was in Peru, which made my life, and was in need of another camlid fix.
Lucky for me, this alpaca rumour turned out to be true and Flat World Alpaca Farm wasn’t just a figment of the town’s imagination. Soon enough, a buddy and I were on bikes and headed about 10km out of town to the farm, squealing excitedly (or enduring listening to me squeal excitedly).
Arriving at the farm, we were greeted by Mike, the legendary alpaca farmer. After some introduction, he took us out to the alpaca pen and told us we’d be able to pet and help feed the alpacas. I honestly have no idea how I made it through that period of my life without passing out – I was so overly ecstatic.
After the feeding session, Mike began to explain a little bit about how he got to bring alpacas to the great white north (mostly because I started quizzing him excessively about this stuff). Mostly, he originally wanted to buy some horses, but then realized that they’re a lot of work and thought to himself “wow, alpacas are a lot easier to take care of, maybe I should just buy some of those instead. Plus I know a guy in Peace River (Alberta) who’s willing to throw a llama into the deal, so I might as well”. I was kind of expecting an epic adventure involving stealing alpacas from Machu Picchu porters and fleeing north to Canada and getting off the grid in Fort Smith, but I guess his story works too.
Anyways, I also found out that alpacas aren’t just a pretty face! Here’s some awesome alpaca trivia you can at your next dinner party or when you’re trying to pick someone up in the club:
– Alpaca “hair” is called fleece
– Fleece from young alpacas (>5years old) is softer and more valuable
– All the fleece is hypoallergenic, waterproof, toasty warm and unbelievably soft
– Alpacas talk to each other by humming
– They come in 22 exciting natural colours (if you count the grey scale as a colour)
– Alpacas (and llamas) don’t have hooves, they have toes