Have you seen her? Melinda the llama was stolen from owner Sara Woodard's backyard off Dan Kelly Road in Joyce. After months of a futile

Have you seen her? Melinda the llama was stolen from owner Sara Woodard's backyard off Dan Kelly Road in Joyce. After months of a futile

KAREN GRIFFITHS’ HORSEPLAY COLUMN: $1,000 reward for stolen Joyce llama

A SHORT TIME ago, I joined several Back Country Horsemen members at the Elwha Barn for Olympic National Park’s annual Barn Day.

It was a chance to meet experienced riders and others interested in backcountry travel in the Olympic wilderness.

There also were demonstrations on how to pack horses, llamas and mules.

Olympakllamas owner Sara Woodlard was there presenting how to pack llamas.

Later, she shared her story about her beloved llama Melinda.

It was about six months ago, while Sara was away on a three-week trek in the mountains, when thieves entered her property on Dan Kelly Road west of Port Angeles.

Melinda disappeared, along with two quads, four chain saws, generators and other tools.

Sara was devastated. Material things could be replaced, but not Melinda.

To Sara, who also owns five of Melinda’s siblings, the llama was a beloved family member.

To make matters worse, the sheriff’s deputy writing up the crime saw evidence that Melinda, 4, whose pen was at the back of the property, didn’t go willingly.

Sadly, it looked as if Melinda’s body was dragged over her pen’s metal gate, bending it, and then forced into the back of a truck.

“We are a broken family,” said a devastated Sara. “She lived a great, adventurous life, hiking an average of 300 miles a season with us and her siblings.”

Now, Sara fears the llama might be dead.

“We’re a small, close-knit community, so someone has to know or have heard something,” said Sara. “At this point, I just hope for closure.”

Sara is offering a $1,000 reward for her return.

Melinda’s looks are rather distinctive: Her body and along the top of her neck are a blue-gray.

She has almost all-white legs, white under her long neck and face, plus a cute black line over her eyes.

If you have information or have simply heard a rumor, contact Sara at 360-452-5867 or olympakllamas@yahoo.com.

Anonymous tips can be left via www.clallam.net/sheriff/contact.html.


I would have loved having a llama to pack my equipment when I worked for the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah in the late 1970s.

My favorite job was hiking and clearing trails.

I got to bring my dog, which made it all the better.

We didn’t have mules to carry our tools.

I carried a backpack with my food, water and small equipment, and a small chain saw I alternated from one hand to the other.

I guess back then, one didn’t need to be chain saw-certified because I certainly wasn’t as I cut and cleared fallen trees (mostly pine) and branches off trails.

Another job was shoveling ashes from campground fire pits and then throwing them and trash left by campers into the bed of the pickup (you didn’t think they looked so inviting because no one used them, did you?).

But the worst job was cleaning the outhouses.

Most were in isolated areas, so we had to haul buckets of water with us and use it sparingly.

Worst: People would steal its toilet paper and leave feces all over the top of the seat. Disgusting.

My takeaway message from that: Practice “Leave No Trace.”

Always carry toilet paper and a shovel because there are times when even public toilets don’t work, but you still need to ease nature.


■ 11 p.m. Saturday and Monday — Put your dancing shoes on and kick up your heels with the Jefferson Equestrian Association (JEA) at its second annual barn dance at the American Legion in Port Townsend.

The dance band is Joe Crecca & the Homewreckers, and the emcee is Chris Hanson.

“We invite you to come and join the fun while raising money to help build our Equestrian Event Center in Jefferson County,” said Kim Hunt, JEA president.

“In addition to supporting the development of this conveniently located, multiuse facility at the barn dance, you’ll be able to bid on a number of exciting auction items in between dance sets, all while having a great time with friends.”

Tickets are $20 at the door. All monies paid to JEA are tax-deductible since JEA is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

For questions about the barn dance, email kimh@jeffersonequestrian.org or phone 360-379-0507.

■ 9:30 a.m. Sunday — Baker Stables Schooling Show, 164 Four Winds Road, Port Angeles. Phone 360-457-6039.

■ 9:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 12-13 — Patterned Speed Horse Games Show at 122 Franson Road in Agnew. Phone Pam Crosby at 360-670-3906.

■ 11 a.m. Saturday, May 12 — Western Games Play Day at Chimacum Saddlery’s outdoor arena in Port Hadlock.

Open to all, it’s hosted by the Jefferson County Golden Clovers 4-H Horse Club. The entry fee is $4 per class for entries postmarked on or before Monday and $5 per class for entries postmarked after or day of show.

For more information/entry forms, phone Bethel Moore at 360-301-1547.

■ 10 a.m. Saturday, May 19 — American Competitive Trail Horse Association ride at Miller Peninsula. Riders must register online to participate.

Registration details, costs, schedule and other information may be found at www.actha.us by searching for the Port Angeles ride May 19.

“Our ACTHA ride last year was a huge success, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer another one this year,” said Jennifer Reandeau, current president of Back Country Horsemen of Washington, Peninsula chapter.

“This is our primary fundraiser for the year, so we’re hoping that everyone who has an interest in keeping our trails open will support us by attending or sponsoring this event.”

■ 10 a.m. Sunday, May 20 — BCH Miller Peninsula ride, with a potluck to follow. Phone Tom Mix 360-582-0460.

■ Saturday, May 26 — Mitzi Summers’ Bitless Bridle and Centered Riding Clinic Sponsored by JEA at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

Visit www.jeffersonequestrian.org for more information.

Preregister by contacting Summer Martell at summermartell@hotmail.com or 360-531-1726.

■ Sunday, May 27 — Centered riding workshop with Mitzi Summers at Kim McGuire’s arena in Port Townsend.

Preregister by contacting Summer Martell at summermartell@hotmail.com or 360-531-1726.


Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears every other Wednesday.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at kbg@olympus.net at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

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