The star of the book based on his true story, Lewis the Yellowstone Llama: A Journey of Courage, will visit with fans during the downtown Livingston Art Walk on Friday, July 28, from 4 to 7 pm. The book’s author, Susi Hülsmeyer-Sinay, will be on hand to sign copies.
Huelsmeyer-Sinay is the owner of Yellowstone Llamas, the first licensed llama outfitting company in the park. She has trained, rescued and packed with llamas since 1994 and, after acquiring Yellowstone Llamas in 2006, began leading multi-day pack trips and single-day hikes as a concessioner in Yellowstone National Park.
Lewis is a pack llama who ran away from an outfitter’s camp one night in July 2018. At the time, his name was Ike. He became famous as he roamed the huge park alone for three months, somehow eluding its many predators. Numerous visitors reported seeing him on his wanderings but nobody could catch him. His previous owner gave up hope of Ike’s survival, and relinquished ownership of him. Hülsmeyer-Sinay heard about his plight and organized a rescue in October, while snowstorms threatened on the horizon. With the help of three of her own llamas, she found Ike on the shores of Lewis Lake. He excitedly joined his fellow llamas and willingly followed them back to Hülsmeyer-Sinay’s waiting trailer. Ike was adopted into the herd and renamed Lewis, after the lake where he was found.
“If someone told you that a pack llama had escaped in Yellowstone Park and survived on its own for several months before being captured, you’d probably say, ‘Wow, that’s crazy,’” writes Jack Taylor in an Outside Bozeman review. “But when you hear the story from the llama’s perspective, the story takes on a whole new dimension—one that is much related to our own condition as humans. Lewis the llama, formerly known as Ike, comes to work in Yellowstone on overnight hiking trips. He loves his job, but when a persistent health problem becomes overwhelming, he flees from the herd in fear of endangering his colleagues. He spends the summer exploring, reflecting, and ultimately healing. He’s a pretty smart llama, and we could all learn a thing or two from his tale.”
Elk River Books is located at 122 S. 2nd St. in downtown Livingston. With a curated collection of fine used, rare, antiquarian and new books, as well as prints, maps, ephemera and gifts, it is a treasured destination for book lovers and collectors across the country.