Saturday, October 17, 2015

Colorado Trip, October 2015 - Geocache/Fossil Beds/Wolf Preserve (Day 5)

Today (Saturday) dawned bright, clear and beautiful!

We had breakfast, warmed up in front of the fireplace and then got dressed in layers to head out geocaching...

The 30 minute drive was so beautiful!

When we reached the area, we were kind of stoked to have to use the 4 wheel drive to get to the cache!

The road was pretty rough...

...just another reason we rented THIS for this trip instead of bringing the ole' Odyssey!

Fun shot on the way to the cache

We knew it would be a pretty easy find, so we let Caleb take the lead on this one...

He's spotted it!

There it is!

Colorado's oldest geocache!

It was so awesome just being out there, surrounded by nothing but wild beauty!

I love this one of the kids running back to the SUV

We stopped to check out this homestead from the late 1800's
(It was beautiful!)

The house and bunkhouse

Carriage Shed and Barn

"Take a picture of me!"

I peeked in the window and Love this shot I got!

So fascinated by the way they built these!

When I peeked through a crack in the carriage shed door, I spotted this beauty!

This was up on the hill, we assume it's a storm shelter

Looking back

She sure does love her Dad! =)

Next we stopped at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument:

Here is Philip with a Gigantic petrified Redwood stump!

A friendly ranger showing the kids some fossils

Using a special tool to cut between the layers...

They are so soft, she can just slice between them with a small blade...

...and then opened it up, revealing layers never before seen - it was so amazing!
(They found a tiny redwood needle in one of the layers of this sample and she showed the kids a tiny snail fossil she had found just a few minutes prior and also gave them each their own magnifying glass to take home.)

We headed back to the cabin, had a quick lunch and then drove a mile down the road to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center.  We went on an hour long tour and learned a ton about wolves and how they have become extremely endangered in the US!  I had No idea there was a wolf shortage (and upon further research when we got back, realized why).  Canada has the second largest wolf population in the world - at around 57,000.   The US now has only about 7,000 in the lower 48 states.   I guess I grew up just figuring that wolves were pretty common, but sadly, not so here in the US!

The tour actually started off with a couple of foxes:

They are red foxes, but had been born to parents who had been genetically modified to have fur that resembled that of the arctic fox, who's white fur is worth a lot more money.

So cute!

Apparently a lot of wolf deaths happen as a result of hunters (knowingly or mistakenly) shooting them, claiming they thought they were coyotes

Without enough wolves to keep the numbers down, deer and elk herds get to be very large, and they "camp out" in one area and eat all of the vegetation and damage trees to the point of killing them, which is devastating to the ecosystem in those areas.

I thought this was funny

Such beautiful animals!

Catching a treat

The oldest one they have (14 years of age)

After that it was home for naps or football (Michigan/Michigan State).

Philip grilling dogs and brats for dinner

We enjoyed a toasty soak in the hot tub, which felt extra great, compared to the chilly night air!

Just the right size for the five of us!


Mark and Rebekah said...

The homestead is so neat! It seems so well-preserved. Glad there haven't been any vandals or anything... And I love that your family fit in the hot tub together :) Cool ride, and beautiful wolves.

Mom W. said...

Wow, I am interested in the coyote/wolf difference, are the coyotes more obnoxious because they kill herd animals? I had heard that was a big problem. Just wondering.

Great educational trip, did they say the fossils were millions of years old, or the stuff in the cave??? =)

Kathleen said...

I guess I didn't realize you were still in CO for the MI/MSU Game. What a heartbreak that was. Now I know why Philip wasn't super bothered by it - lol, grilling Brats and enjoying the mountains. That's enough to take your mind off anything! The weather looked so beautiful. And the hot tub inviting! :) So glad you were able to do this all together as a family. Kewel ride (SUV) too.