With camels, every day is hump day
You should see and hear the reactions I get when I tell people that my husband Erik and I just bought a camel-trekking business. “I beg your pardon?” “You what?” “Of course you did.”Yes indeed. I’m a weekly newspaper editor by day, and a camel wrangler by night. Camels. Real, live camels. The critters with the big humps on their backs and the long eyelashes.One of my favorite responses to news of our new camel venture so far is my mother’s. After decades of interaction, she’s pretty used to me surprising her. But when I told her we’d just bought three living camels, plus all their tack and their specially-built trailer, well, surprise is not really an adequate word.Instead, she started coughing uncontrollably. Once I got her calmed down and breathing normally, she reacted like any well-adjusted mom of an adult daughter would.”OK.” It’s happening to Erik, too, though he’s more used to it. He just can’t seem to get away from seemingly odd job titles. He’s worked as a farrier for the past 20-plus years. That’s a horseshoer to the uninitiated. “If I tell people I’m a farrier, they look at me funny,” he says, referring to the extremely close similarity of the words ‘farrier’ and ‘fairy.’ “And if I tell them I’m a horseshoer, they say, ‘You shoot horses?’ Why would you want to do something like that?'”With the camels, once people pull their eyebrows back down into position, many of the questions are the same.”Do they spit?” I like one camel wrangler’s response the best: Only on command. Want to see? “Aren’t they mean?” Not these camels. Gwenivere, Bill and Clyde are intelligent, funny, kind and full of personality. Truly. “Isn’t Rifle too cold?” Nope. Camels are built for extreme heat and extreme cold. They’re a study of efficiency.The Humps, as we’ve taken to calling them, are also extremely well broke to ride. They’re quite comfortable and graceful. And actually, they’re far more acclaimed and well-mannered than me. They’ve been featured in films (a camel-o, if you pardon the pun) in “Independence Day,” and in a full-length feature story in The New York Times Travel section. Plus they’ve been trekking around Moab for years. Besides working with and getting to know them, we’re now in the throes of permitting and paperwork, getting The Humps prepared for their next commercial or film deal, their trekking tours near and far, and their special appearances. (Can you imagine the promotion a business could do for Hump Day with Gwenie as their model?)Mostly, though, there’s something about looking out the kitchen window and seeing three camels out by the barn munching away on grass hay, that can only put you in a good mood. I mean really. That’s why there’s really no adequate answer to why we bought a camel-trekking business to someone who asks blandly, “Why?” Because if you don’t understand why you’d want to throw your leg over a camel’s hump, put your feet in the stirrups, and saunter off, 10 feet in the air astride one of these very cool creatures, well, there’s just no explaining. Carrie Click is the editor and general manager of The Citizen Telegram in Rifle (citizentelegram.com). Look for Kelley Cox’s upcoming Panorama photo spread in a Sunday Post Independent. Carrie can be reached at 625-3245, ext. 16770, email@example.com.
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