Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Summer 2014 Road Trip: Wolves and Mountain Hike

I am excited to share the second set of photos
from the road trip I took this Summer with my family!
These photos are from our time spent riding to a wolf reserve near
the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and our incredible hike near
Salida, Colorado.

One of the first things we did on our vacation- which we did on our
 last trip to Colorado, as well- was take a ride on four-wheelers up to
the hills below the Sangre de Cristos, where a truly neat
place is nestled: Mission Wolf, a wolf sanctuary.
It is a pretty amazing place to go because of the wolves and the 
serene location. It is literally in the middle of nowhere.

Our morning began with beautiful skies, picturesque clouds hanging
over the mountains in front of us.  It was a beautiful morning
as we packed up and got ready to head out.

The road to the sanctuary leads you down and up hills and is
such a blast to ride, especially when you're going fast on a four-wheeler.
I guess it feels like the closest thing to being on a motorcycle because
your hair is flyin' in the wind and you feel so free and alive.
The trip there is also fun because of the things you see along the way.
We saw cattle all throughout the hills as we passed by.
I love cows, especially calves, and I liked being able to be so close
to them when we would stop.

It was neat to pass some ranchers riding across the land, as well.

The view of the hills and the distant range from the sanctuary...

and zoomed in, a photo taken from the road up...

It was a pretty warm the day we went, so most of the wolves were sleeping or
staying out of the heat in their dens, but we did get to see a few.

It is wonderful to see the wolves getting treated so well when we go
here.  They are well fed, have huge pens, and are extremely respected and
well-cared for by the people there.  These wolves are all there because
 they were in dangerous or unhealthy situations and were rescued
or owner-surrendered.  This sanctuary is doing something wonderful for
these wolves, as they would not be able to survive alone in the wild because
they were raised in captivity.  At least here they get to be in their natural 
habitat.  Mission Wolf is dedicated to providing them with as natural a
setting as possible and caring for them as best they can, and they are
run strictly by volunteer zoology and biology students and funded
on donations and sponsors.  I was a sponsor to one of their
wolves when I was younger, but she eventually passed away.
Her name was Jasmine :)

Along the little trail within the sanctuary there were so many
beautiful blooming flowers.
Oh, how vibrant and lovely mountain wildflowers are!

At the end of our tour I "heard" this hummingbird feeder.... I say "heard" because
there were literally so many hummingbirds flitting around that it sounded like
a bunch of little helicopters flying around together.  I have never seen
so many hummingbirds as when we visit Colorado.  They are everywhere.
I enjoyed getting to admire their shimmery beauty as they buzzed around
this feeder and landed on it.  This is all I managed to capture.
These amazing creatures are just too fast.

Standing at the entrance/exit to the sanctuary on our way out, I stared out at all
of the open land before us in all directions.  I felt so small as I gazed at the 
vastness... it is so neat to look around and feel like you can see everything
with no obstructions. 

Not to mention thinking of how those mountains 
in the mist ahead that seemed small from my view were actually 
thousands of feet tall.

More cattle on the trail on the ride back...
look at these sweet cows.

Another wonderful part of our trip was taking
a little day-trip into the town of Salida and the surrounding
areas to go hiking up on a gorgeous trail...

A glimpse of some remaining snow up in the mountains.
It's interesting how a sight like this makes you feel like you are so
close to that snow, when it's actually miles and miles away.

The start of the trail...

It's funny how when I start to get tired on a hike, especially
since the air is thin, I just can't wait until we see any sign of a stream
or a river.  Once you find it, every breath and big rock you had to
climb over was all worth it.

I couldn't get enough of this waterfall.
Sitting on the rocks right next to it and walking across the stream-bed
to take it all in was amazing... listening to the sounds of trickling and
splashing brought me to a heavenly, peaceful place that
clinched it for me that I was really back in Colorado.

These do not do it proper justice.  This scene was so much greener
and more amazing than a photo is able to show.

One of my most favorite captures of the trip and this hike...
the sunlight perfectly casting its glow on a butterfly rested on a wildflower.

A stream flowing under a footbridge at the end of the hike.
Literally water under the bridge. (smiles)

After our hike, we ventured into town to go eat.
  Always gotta throw some good food in a day-trip :)
If you're ever in Salida, CO, I recommend "The Bounty."
Being the Southern girl that I am, I, of course, had to try their macaroni.
Oh my, it had the most incredible, sharp flavor.  SO good!

We also did some shopping in the downtown area, which is
historic and kept nearly all of its original architecture- one of the 
reasons for the ornate ceilings like these that I found so beautiful.

And the woodwork! ...

On the way back "home", after a great day of exploring and fun,
it was getting late and the sun started to lower in the sky.
This made for a lovely view of the mountains as we drove back,
their peaks and valleys glowing as the sun shone across them.

Our Salida hike and the trip to Mission Wolf were
both memorable parts of our trip.
Looking back at the photos is a joy, getting to relive the
feelings of being near that waterfall, trekking up to it together,
exploring on the trail and in town, and of course experiencing that macaroni!

I look forward to sharing more from the trip as I finish sorting the
last photos :)

Wishing you a wonderful day!


  1. Your pictures are amazing, Jazzmin! I would be very hard pressed to pick a favorite. I love all the ones with big sky and strong mountains...but being able to capture that butterfly on the flower had to be an amazing experience. It is beautiful. I'm so glad that you and your family had such a wonderful time. I'll look forward to more pictures once you've sorted through them! Love and Hugs, Dianna

  2. Looks like an awesome vacation! I thoroughly enjoyed your photos!

  3. Gorgeous pictures, Jazzmin. You know how I love being out in nature around water - I would have loved being there. The mountains were so beautiful, too. Good job on capturing the butterfly - I know how hard that is to do!

  4. Congratulations on a great post and photos!

  5. Hey there pretty lady! Your pictures were a real treat to look at and your butterfly photo was truly perfect!

    How delightful that you got to visit Salida - it's about 2 hours away from where I live :) Don't you love the history of the old towns?! One summer my husband and I want to take a vacation in our own state and travel to the old towns tucked away in the mountains.

    Thanks for sharing, sweet friend. It looks like your trip was wonderful! Love to you!


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