Friday, August 15, 2014

The Wild Animal Sanctuary at Keenesburg Colorado

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a 720-acre  animal sanctuary located near Keenesburg Colorado.

The sanctuary specializes in rescuing and caring for large predators which are being ill-treated, for which their owners can no longer care, or which might otherwise be euthanized.It is a  nonprofit organization and a state and federally licensed zoological facility.

Created in 1980, The Wild Animal Sanctuary is situated on grassland North of Denver and has helped over 1,000 animals since it first opened. As of 2012, it was home to over 290 animals.

We'd heard of the wild life sanctuary for years but as is common, we'd not been to the place so near to where we'd been living. The thing is, this is a sanctuary and not a zoo. Hard maybe to see the difference... but... the idea is, as I see it, to give these once abused, rescued, captive animals a decent place to live out their days in relative peace... rather than being entertainment for people.

I'd not call it a Picturesque spot... but considering the alternative for these critters... it's a pretty fair deal. Most of them are animals that were confiscated from people who held them as "pets" chained to trees in the back yard or penned in cages.

Some were held in horse trailers for years! or the garage... what can I say... if you want to experience what was done to these animals... try living in a closet for a month...want it more real? Have someone come and beat you with a bat because you're not "gentle enough"... yeah... shiny.

One novel sort of thing here is that you're up above their fields on an elevated walkway...

From the entry center and gift shop area you walk up a ramp at the start of the mile long elevated walkway... The theory is; These animals don't have any natural threats that come from above... so if you're up there... they don't notice you... you're not "in their space"... and so stress is lessened.

They also request very clearly, no running, squealing, throwing things to the animals etc. It's all set up to, as much as possible, reduce/eliminate the stresses of captivity for these animals.

*Entry ramp up onto the walk way*

*Looking back toward the Visitor center and the Socialization building*
Most of these animals were kept in solitary situations and had never even seen another of their kind, before they were brought here. Consequence is they haven't a clue how to get along with each other...

Compound that with the space... Most were held in cramped, closed cages for years. Simply simply having this much space is a shock they need to adjust to... They need time...

Sooooo...

*Wild Animal Sanctuary "Socialization Building*
What they do is start them out in smaller enclosures, with neighbors on the other side of the separating fences... over time they "buddy up" with a neighbor... at which time the keepers/volunteers will move them in together... their solitary lives are expanded in as normal a way as is possible...



... as they gain "social skills" they are turned out into the "group" enclosures that run from ten to twenty acres a piece. For an animal that's spent it's entire life chained alone to a tree, that must seem like heaven.










One lil bit I thought kind of hilarious was; They warn you in a short little introduction, that if you drop your camera, your phone or whatever... off the walkway... it's gone... they won't and can't go get it... sooooo...

*look for the red arrow...*
 yeah... OOPS!


"But Mom! I NEED a new I-phone! The lions got my OLD ONE!!!" Bwahahahahaha



The place is primarily a rescuer of  Lions and Tigers and Bears... though there are a few foxes and quite a few grey wolves.

There are some folks that think wolves make good pets... as nutso an idea as having a Tiger in your garage... or any of a myriad of other abuses of wild critters.

Yeah... they think that right up until that cute "pup" matures at around two years old and his aggressiveness as he attempts to climb the social ladder becomes frightening and dangerous...

Then... the fools think; "I'll just turn them loose in the mountains... where the totally unprepared (he never had his folks to teach him how to hunt) and also now unafraid of people critter... starves to death... or is shot attacking livestock.

Better... is when they are confiscated and placed into sanctuaries like this across the country... that also work to try and educate people regarding the cruelty and reality of attempting to keep wildlife in your basement...

The bears here are Blacks and Grizzlies. As you drive in you pass a large enclosure with several Grizzlies that doesn't yet have a walkway... on the walkway itself you stroll over a good number of black bears... and at least a pair of Grizzlies...



























For shelter from both the hot summers and cold winters they've built some rather ingenious underground dens for the animals out in the open areas...



Those concrete culvert openings run about 60' back in, and then open up into a 6X12X6 concrete den. They appear to be, from a picture I saw, a septic tank overturned... It works! ;)

For the visitors they've got a couple of shady areas to sit and have a pic nic lunch or snack...

*Covered area near a Bear Pool*




Out at the far end is a Lion House... with a snack bar...





*Run Jillian RUN!*

You can have a snack and chill out...while the lions serenade you...

video

Like I said... it's not all landscaped and pretty. They pretty much run on a shoestring... but it's pretty cool to see animals that have been abused and alone... able to have some freedom and peace to live out their days in a decent and peaceful place...

So... when you visit along the front range... pack a pic nik snack and pay 'em a visit out by Keenesburg...  I'd suggest you go late... we got there 'bout 5 in the evening or a bit later... The animals are moving around a lot more as the prairie starts to cool off at the end of the day... oh... and leave your dogs at home ;)

Just movin' along
Brian

Thursday, August 14, 2014

See If I Can Catch Things Up on 3 Different Deals...

Sooooo... I was on the road in the wind... and then I wasn't.






I rolled up over Hoosier pass to Fairplay and hooked around to get my supper fixin's in Buena Vista. Just twenty miles or so north of town you turn off to climb Independence pass.

Just there at the bottom, before the road starts climbing into the mountains is a pair of sweet little lakes... and a hell of a nice camp at a place called Diamond Pt.

Nice breeze that kept the skeeters clear... and a nice view from my "Porch"...

Come the dawn... I was up and prepping for another day in the saddle...

First things first... and... Coffee is always first.

Lil' more problematical when some fella runs off and forgets to pack his cup in the gear...

...so he has to have a Bowl of coffee to start the day :) ... or three...

Then it was pack up and get to rollin'... Higher in the Rockies...









I have to say, Independence Pass is maybe the sweetest ride in the state... There's several in close competition... but this one is definitely one of those top few...

*That bike makes me look like a runt!*
Reluctantly I dropped off the pass into the place that is... Aspen...

Yeah... NOT... a place that this boy fits at all well...

When you're sitting on your scooter at a red light... and some "lady" walks past in the cross walk... with her high fashion straw hat... her $400 dollar sandal shoes... yadda yadda...

...gives you a glance and then with her nose in the air and turned away... walks past with her face screwed up like she's got a sour lemmon in her mouth... you KNOW... you are not in your "home" country... bwahahahahahaha...

I rolled down out of the mountains to catch a sit down lunch in Glenwood Springs... to fuel me up for the ride through Glenwood Canyon... to find no place in the Inn... at the Wolford Recreation area outside of Kremmling...

Buuuuut... the gal there at the gate called into an RV Park in town and found me a spot... Now... I'm not the RV Park sort... but I'll tell you... I rode past the RV's belly to butt... to pitch my tent on a big grassy square with one other tent... with a big ramada in between... for $13 bucks! long about HALF what a KOA tariffs a biker for.

Nice grassy camp. Hot shower and supplies just down the road a mile... Ha! I had it better than the RV'ers! :)

Next morning I finished my figure eight ride and get back to the trailer to get to work again...

... a day and some got lost with the Robin Williams news... that touched a nerve... and then it was time to get movin' again...

I spent goodly parts of those days getting the coating on the roof. First, a second scrubbing of the old roof to prepare it for the second phase... the primer... and then two coats of Kool Seal elastomeric membrane...


Just popped a fresh refrigerator cap on this morning.

Soon as I got done with the coating yesterday... and after I got re-hydrated from bein' up there in the blistering Colorado sun... must have been all of 75 ;) ... I climbed on the scooter to meet ever'body about 85 miles or so south east.

Took the kids to the Wild Life Sanctuary out east of Fort Lupton. I'll save that post for tomorrow... It's got a few pics and a good story that deserves it's own post.

In the Morning
Brian


Monday, August 11, 2014

I Went and Now I'm Back. Two Wheels in the Wind for Four Days.

Made a Circle that was more like  a  big figure 8. 

Just got back yesterday afternoon from a four day ride wandering 750 miles or so up along the divide. I'd lazed around and didn't hit the road till just after 9 in the morning. Wasn't figuring on goin' that far so why rush around?

So... within three miles I'm sitting in the sun waiting for five minutes for the train boys to move their toys out of the way and clear the road... then... as soon as I hit the canyon... six and half miles of fresh chip and seal... hmmmm... I was hopin' this weren't some sort of  one of those premonition things.

Yeah, chip and seal might just be an inconvenience for a mother-in-law drivin' her Buick... buuuuut for a grumpy cuss on two wheels it can get down right ugly... so that was a pretty slow six miles... but then it was behind me and the open road lay out in front!

The first pass of the circle was at Cameron out at the west end of Poudre Canyon...


When you come off that you're in Jackson County and North Park...

*North Park Colorado just west of Walden*
This might be one of the coldest spots in the country. The Indians of the old days called it the "Buffalo Pen" because with the mountains surrounding it like they do, it was a giant pen.

Back in the 1880s in the west there were a couple of really bad winters. In two of those from 1884 to 1886 something like half of the cattle in this basin were wiped out by the winters... It's a hard life sometimes.


I was heading for a camp at Dumont Lake just over the left shoulder of that peak. That'd be rabbit ears. They used to call it bears ears ... which it looks a lot more like... I sure don't know who or why they changed it...

Buuuut... first I had to cross over Muddy Pass... and then Rabbit Ears pass right after that...



I got into camp with the lightning flashing and the thunder booming. Though I've not set this tent for a little while I had it up and camp set dry in under ten minutes. :)


and then with only a slight bit of rain the sun came back out...
















It's kinda tough to travel through such a barren land ;) but I'll manage.

Just after I got my camp set I rode on into Steamboat Springs to get my supper. I'd planned on picking it up back in Walden. As it turned out, the lil' store I'd figured to pick it up at is closed up now. So it was 19 miles or so into Steamboat and the same 19 back.

Wouldn't have been an issue, it's a nice ride... if it hadn't been for that frog strangler that broke loose while I was in the grocery store!

I came out and had a choice... wait it out, which could be a while... or Billy Bad Azz it, suit up and ride!

Well... ya'll know me... I zipped up my rain gear, twisted the throttle and took me, my supper and a pint of nice ale home! Rain be damned!

Actually... outside of adding a little concentration dealing with the affects of rain on motorcycle traction... I don't mind rain riding at all... most times I even enjoy it.

Had to dawdle around the next morning...

*Dumont Lake Sunrise*
... To let my gear dry enough to pack up.

Then it was load up and ride out to see what the new day would bring...


I'll save the rest for another post ;)
Brian