You know how down South the locals will sometimes give you directions that sound something like “Go down to the oak tree and turn left and then take a right at the big rock.”? Well, I can report that they use those same sorts of directions here in Colorado. Our destination for the day was the Colorado Wolf Sanctuary…we were a bit delayed in leaving since Neil is now having the same stomach troubles as Connie was the past few days and we had to drop off the Mazda to get fixed. We are about convinced that our stomach issues are a combination of the altitude we’re not used to and a stomach bug we picked up somewhere (well, actually Connie picked it up first and Neil likely caught it from her).
Anyway; we were looking at the sanctuary website last night and it says right on the site that if you follow your GPS directions to the street address you’ll be at least a half mile from where you need to be. So…their recommendation instead was to turn left at the red barn
and then right at the big rock.
We had a nice laugh about those directions.
We were up at 9000 feet here in Divide Colorado (since it’s almost on the Continental Divide) and started our tour…while there was a pretty large number of specimens of various species of wolves the sanctuary itself really almost keeps them in jail. They have pens that range from a quarter acre up to about an acre in size…which is a lot better than in most zoos but they have no large range to run in, don’t do any hunting for themselves, and don’t mate since they sanctuary is not a breeding facility. In addition; the staff are really, really into saving wolves and the political message that hunting them is bad and that we humans essentially just persecute the animals was a little over the top. In addition; the sanctuary makes a large amount of money from selling wolf photos and high priced wolf photo opportunities; so they limit you to just a 70mm lens maximum when you are on their $10 tour. It didn’t take Neil long to figure out that the 70mm limitation was to ensure that one could not get photos without the fence in them. So…apologies for the fence fabric in the photos…but hey, it’s the best we could do.
First up was a pen with some Silver Foxes in it; these are arctic dwellers and are pretty small.
Next door was a family of Red Foxes in a different pen; these are about twice the size of the Silver Foxes in the above photo.
Moving on into the wolves section; we viewed Gray Wolves, Arctic Wolves, some mixed breeds including the only one born in the sanctuary; almost all of the wolves in the sanctuary were rescue animals from breeders or fur operations.
First up; a bunch of Gray Wolves in their various color schemes. They actually aren’t all gray; colors range from black to carmel colored but the majority of have the gray and black mix coloring that you can see in the photos.
Here is one of the Arctic Wolves; this is a 14 year old specimen. Note you can see the almost webbed feet and longer legs that an Arctic Wolf has; this makes it much easier for them to travel in heavy snow.
We also saw some Mexican Gray Wolves…the pair the sanctuary has is pretty wild and not comfortable around humans at all. Unfortunately; they were in a chain link enclosure instead of the larger chicken wire that the rest of the enclosures used and none of the photos were worth posting.
Our tour ended up with a little more political grandstanding and then the entire group put up a wolf howl in an effort to get the animals to respond…our lousy howl was rewarded by a 3 or 4 minute serenade as all of the wolves in the sanctuary (probably 30 or so total in about half that many enclosures) talked to each other. With that we hopped back in the car, picked up the Mazda which was now fixed (some of those Check Engine Light emissions control stuff went bad) and came home. Neil was feeling pretty lousy by this time and only slept an hour or so last night so he had a nap for an hour or so while Connie went and did the laundry since it was his birthday.
Neil also got another picture of the Black Billed Magpie that is really common around here; we finally got one that had a little sun on it to show the beautiful colors.
Our original plan to go out and eat at PF Chang went by the wayside…Neil just felt too lousy…so we just had a couple of pot pies instead. We found at Walmart some Marie Calendar brand Chicken Corn Chowder Pot Pies…chicken, bacon, taters, onions and cream sauce. We’ve had these a couple of times now and really like them.
Tomorrow is our last day here…and we have a small pile of chores to handle before we can leave. None of them are long but there are 13 or so we need to finish up. Connie has to go and get her new crown cemented on. Depending on how we feel we may try PF Chang after all. Thursday (assuming she gets her crown tomorrow) we’re off on a 3 day drive through WY and MT to Great Falls MT where we’ll spend Memorial Day weekend.