Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center

Rick and Pat had to work the last few days we were in Colorado Springs so Fred and I headed out by ourselves.  One of the places I wanted to go was to see the the wolves, so we headed out to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center.  The center was really a fabulous place and one that I truly enjoyed.  I have loved wolves for years and this place really puts them into perspective.

The center started because the owner saw a wolf-dog that was to be euthanized at the local animal shelter and despite her fear of wolves, she took the dog home.  From this she learned of the problems for wolf-dogs and open a recuse shelter for them and injured wolves.  We had a friend that had a wolf-dog and Marley was one of the best, friendly, loyal, and loving dogs I have ever know. The center is full of wolves that they have rescued from injury and/or death.  Some are very socialized and others are not; they have maintained their habitat as if they were still wild.  Those that are socialized are available for tours in which you can go out and sit with them, have your picture taken and pet them.  You are given special instructions as they are still wild wolves so you have to learn about their habits and nature in order to not upset them. 

We did the standard tour and were guided through the park being shown all the different wolves and were give an explanation of each.  We got to see them up close or at least as close as they would come.  Really wolves are not fond of people and will stay away from them but with them being in this controlled area and used to the guides bring them food they would come to the fence for their treats.  At the end of the tour we were told about how they communicate and about their howl.  The guide told us how to howl and we all did at one time and as soon as we finished our howl the wolves through out the park howled back.  It was really cool.   One of the wolves that they had recused belonged to one of these companies that breed wolves for picture taking purposes like for calendars and such.  It had been born with a defect and was not developing so they were going to put it down.  Once the shelter heard about it they got the company to give them the wolf and a vet discovered the problem was due to a vitamin defect took care of the problem.  The wolf developed to one of the best looking wolf they have.  The company tried to buy him back but, of course, was told no.  This is the best shot I could get of him as he was laying down in the back and I just could not get a good angle on him.  He was beautiful.  If you get the chance to visit the center, do so, as they are a non-profit center and only survive by donations and the tours they do.  It is well worth your time.  Oh they also have some very cute foxes at the front and other animals, but the wolves are the center.







Here are the other pictures I took of the wolves and the area, hope you enjoy.  I have also given you the link to their webpage if you would like to learn more about the center and/or donate.

Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center  - Website

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Colorado Springs - Day 2

Our next stop was at the Colorado Spring Pioneers Museum.  It is in the old El Paso County Courthouse which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  They have preserved one of the old courtrooms, which those that know me, I was interested in.  It was really neat.  The museum is full of lot history from the early Indians in the area to western exploration and early settlers to the recent Waldo Canyon Fire where a lot of the area was destroyed. 







They have even taken Helen Hunt’s house and moved into the museum and staged it as it was when she lived there.  It was truly a unique place to visit. 






The walk through the museum is worth the cost as it is by donation only and is very interesting.  If you are in the area go walk through this old courthouse/museum.

From the museum we went to the Air Force Academy.  This was one of those places I really wanted to take the time to see.  It  is in a beautiful setting and has a lot of great history.  The visitor center takes you through the years of a cadet and show activities of the academy.

Then there was the dorms and all the cadets

Lets not forget the chapel – talk about a unique and beautiful place






The inside was as unique and the pipe organ was amazing


Each belief had their own chapel so they made sure all faiths were covered.

It was a neat visit and I am glad we took the time to see it.

September 2015–Trip back to home base in Houston–Day 1–Colorado Springs, CO

DSCN5470Our time at Sweitzer Lake State Park ended right after Labor Day so we started back toward Houston.  Have a dear friend’s daughter getting married in October so we are going to make it back for the wedding and will be doing some BBQ judging in Brazoria County. 

Our first leg was to go to Colorado Springs as we wanted to spend some time with our friends Rick and Pat, plus Fred had never really seen much of that part of Colorado.  Pulling the car for the first time and we were told that Monarch Pass would be tough so we took advice from locals by taking Rt 114 around the pass.  What a beautiful drive.  It was not as hard on the coach pulling the car and we did great. 

We actually stayed at Rocky Top Motel and Campground which is located between Woodland Park and Colorado Springs.  It is a campground that is owned by the son of a couple we park hosted with at Roper Lake in Arizona.  Really was a nice place.   We had a place up on top of the hill looking out over the area. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         We met up with Rick and Pat the next day for a day of fun.  They took us to Cripple Creek, CO. – once was a gold mining town and now is the center for casinos.  Lots of history and lots to do around the town.

We took a ride on the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad for a journey back into gold rush history. You are taken by a restored steam locomotives and tickets are purchased at the historic 1894 station house.  There were remains of the past history of gold mines and those who looked to but never found the gold.  The veins of gold were so narrow that someone could hit it rich and 20 feet away the next person could not find a speck.  There were numerous mine that have been closed and some that were still operating.  The conductor was very informative and it was a neat ride.


Then on the ride back down the mountain we were told about the town and its history.  In its time the town was full of miners that were looking for a good time, drinking and a good meal.  The local madam had her place and was well know for her value and was treasure of the town.  The white building was her location.  The town at one time was all built out of wood but a fire destroyed most of the town one evening and then the next day a grease fire caused the rest of the town to burn to the ground.  Due to the fire when the town was rebuilt it was ordered everything was to be built from bricks, so they were brought in and the town was rebuilt entirely from brick. 






One of the neat things in Cripple Creek was the old graveyard.  I have always enjoyed walking through historical graveyards as some of the tombstones can be interesting and funny.  This particular graveyard is the location where the lady whom the TV series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” was written about.  Contrary to the series she was not in Colorado Springs, but rather lived and worked in Cripple Creek.


Next we headed to the Garden of the Gods – one the places I had been looking forward to seeing.  The Garden is a free park that was donated by the Perkins family to the City of Colorado Springs after the death of their father.  It was his request that the beauty of this land be given to the people and remain free so that all could come and enjoy it.  The Garden now sits just on the city limits of Manitou Springs, a unique city itself.  The trading post within the Garden has been there since the early 1900 for the selling of carved pieces by Charles Strausenback, then in 1924 he made it into a place where people could come and study the Pueblo Indians.  At this time it became a private business employing the Pueblos to dance and make native items for selling.  Today much of the original building and structure is still in place but things have changed as it has grown and big business moved in.

Cathedral SpiresThe Garden itself is really interesting with lots of hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking or just sit in their shadow of the mountains for a picnic. 





One of my favorite was what is known as the Kissing Camels



One of the most known is Balance Rock.  For more pictures see album below.




Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What we do volunteering at the state parks you ask?

IMG_2735We have been asked by a number of you what we do when we volunteer at the state parks that we stay at.  I will try to give you an overview – we basically volunteering about 20 – 24 hours each a week and the park will give us a place to park our coach with full hookups.  We are given shirts/polo shirts and/or T-shirts by the park to wear so that visitors see us as such.  The duties we have been asked to do have been from maintenance to working the gift shop to assisting visitors/campers to tours.  The time we have spent has been so rewarding and enjoyable that we just don’t really see not doing it anytime soon.  Here has been some our our times and duties:DSCN2366






Assisting with the touch table and scout groups at the San Jacinto Monument at the San Jacinto Battlefield in Houston.

DSCN2818Fred enjoyed putting the flags up each day and taking them down in the evenings at the Battlefield.  He even got the opportunity to teach two of our grandkids how to do it.







Doing tours at the USS Texas Battleship in Houston.









They were all ages, size, from different countries and very challenging at times.  We enjoyed every minute of it though plus we learned a lot ourselves.


Learning about birds and making suet at Bensten Rio Grande State Park in Mission was really enjoying. 







Oriole & JaySuet was put out each day at the bird feeders and the birds really loved it.


I spent a lot of time at this desk do research and assisted in compiling an information book for visitors to the park.



Fred did maintenance – gathering trash and built some shelf in a storage areaDSCN3752







IMG_3614Then working in the gift shop/check in at Roper Lake State Park in Safford, AZ . . .



to assisting in the campground




to working entry at Dankworth Pond (subunit of Roper)




On to Crawford Lake State park in Crawford CO. and in our move to Sweitzer Lake State Park, Fred was trained to work ANS (Aquatic Nuisance Species) by doing boat inspections, volunteered in maintenance and assisted the rangers in lake patrol and I volunteered at the front office doing check-in, selling fishing licenses, doing boat/AHV registrations and selling annual park passes.







Volunteering was not all we got out of this as there were others volunteers/park host and we spend many hours doing things together and having a great time.  We have pot luck meals, super bowl/football parties, bonfires, went out to eat and/or just enjoyed each other company.


































As you can see the time spent is not really that hard and is very enjoyable.  We have met some wonderful people at the different parks both personnel and visitors who will remain friends.  Some we will treasure for years to come.  If you are considering volunteering I would highly recommend it as it worth your time and you get back as much as you put into it.  We are so glad we made the decision to our full timing in a RV this way and have not looked backed.  God has truly blessed us with this endeavor and we are going to continue to make the best of every  minute.  I would recommend it if you want something to do as you travel other than just moving around.  We only spend three or four days a week on volunteers duties and then spend the rest of the time out sightseeing the area we are in.  We get the enjoyment of both world this way in our opinion.  Hope this answers some of your questions as to what we do as volunteers – in summary – we have fun!!