On the weekend of April 28-30, the SSLA is holding its annual spring Pack Trial, Rendezvous, Challenge, AND this year, a PLTA Certifier's training course!
DuPont State Recreational Forest in North Carolina is the beautiful venue for this event. (This is the site where the Hunger Games were filmed, if any of you are fans. See www.dupontforest.com for photos and maps to whet your appetite.) 
All llama lovers are welcome to come with or without llamas. The weekend promises beautiful hikes on trails by lakes and waterfalls, a big barn and fenced paddocks for our llamas, wonderful camaraderie, a campfire potluck dinner, Basic and Advanced Pack Trials, a Pack Trial Challenge Event, and, if you are interested, a chance to become an accredited certifier to oversee other such events in your neck of the woods. The more we show the world how wonderful, talented and useful our llamas are, the greater their value! There's nothing more fun than being in the woods with llamas and other llama people!>
We have the barn venue reserved from Thursday through Sunday. After you register, the gate code will be emailed to you. The llama people are the only ones allowed to drive within the park boundaries that weekend.  Hikers, horses, and bike riders all have to park outside the gates. We're so special!
For those officially participating in the PLTA Pack Trial, the schedule will be a little different this year, due to the addition of the certifier's course (see below). The manageability tasks may start Friday night for early arrivers, and continue Saturday morning, with the qualifying 3 and 5 mile hikes in the afternoon. The PLTA Challenge event will be Sunday morning, expecting to wrap up before noon.
Lisa Wolf, a PLTA (Pack Llama Trail Association- see www.packllama.org) representative from Burns, Oregon, is flying in for the weekend to teach a 2 1/2 day class to anyone interested in becoming a certifier for future pack trial events. All you need is the desire, the time, and a $100 contribution to Lisa's travel expenses (this amount will be less with more people in the class.) We are hoping to see more Pack Trials in other areas east of the Mississippi, and the PLTA is anxious to support us in this effort.  Certifier trainees will be in class all day Friday starting at 8am, so you'd most likely want to arrive on Thursday. Saturday morning at 8am will be field training in setting up a course and choosing obstacles. Saturday afternoon will be finishing up manageability tasks and the Basic and Advance Pack Trials themselves for everyone, with certifier trainees participating in the Advanced as part of their training.
You can do both -- train to be a certifier and qualify your llama in the Advanced Trial. Or you can just walk along. Passing this accreditation course will allow you to officiate over Basic, Advanced (and possibly even Masters- this is being worked out), and Pack Challenge events. More fun in more woods with llamas!
For questions, please feel free to call Mary Rose Collins, Tom Wilson, or Karen Pihera.   Hope to see you there!  It will be such fun!
Karen Pihera