While visiting Colorado, we were able to visit the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center and hang out with some wolves – going into their enclosures and interact with them! Those who know Eric know how exciting this experience was for him.
Eric loves wolves – and has since he was a young boy. We have wolf art throughout our home. There is something about these mighty creatures that has always fascinated my man. Perhaps he feels in tune with them. If Eric were an animal, I am convinced he would be a wolf. (Or a tiger. Or a lion. Or some large animal you would not want to upset.)
Wolves are rulers. Their presence in nature has a purifying and life-bringing effect. Plan to take a little time and watch this amazing video, How Wolves Change Rivers – it is all about how wolves who were reintroduced to Yellowstone and how they brought the area back to life.
Thank You, Alex!
When Eric and I mapped out our trip to Colorado, our plan was to work part of the time (Eric had a business conference to attend) and visit with family and friends the rest of the time. But, one chance conversation with a client opened this door for us! During a session, our client, Alex, made a passing comment about a time he saw wolves when he was visiting Colorado. Eric’s ears perked up (and so did mine)! “Wolves? Where?”
When the session ended, Eric immediately began researching the website. Not only were we going to be close to the Center, but we were going to be there on a full moon weekend which is only when they do their feeding tours! (What providence from the Lord!) So, we scheduled a feeding tour and an Ultimate Alpha Experience for the following morning!
Wolf Feeding Tour
After getting lost (Siri surely does not know everything), we finally arrived at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center just as the feeding tour was getting underway. At each enclosure, our guide told us a story about each wolf while we watched them chow down on large cuts of meat – fish, chicken, ground beef, and steak. What a treat! I thought my dog could finish her dinner quickly… but, she has nothing on these guys.
“A large steak? No problem. Give me thirty seconds or so to gobble that up,” would have said the wolves we watched voraciously eating.
We were enchanted by these beautiful creatures and somewhat surprised by their pleasant natures. My favorite moment came at the end of the tour when we were all instructed to howl one time, but all at once. We set off a chain reaction and wolves from all over the conservatory began howling and carrying on. It was a gorgeous sound. I could have listened for a solid hour.
Ultimate Alpha Experience
The following day, we showed up at 8:15am for our personal wolf time. The owner of the Center accompanied us into three wolf enclosures and we were able to get up close and personal with these mighty creatures. When I say up close and personal, I am being as literal as possible.
“The wolf has several specialized glands, located all over the wolf’s body that function as a chemical and a visual message for other wolves. There is one located … near the corner of the wolves mouth…. The aroma from these glands is as individualistic as our own fingerprints. Each scent is specific to an individual each with its own meaning.” (ref: mexicanwolves.org)
Therefore, wolves lick the insides of each other’s mouths for two purposes: 1. To get to know the other wolf (like shaking your hand) 2. To invite you into its pack and show friendliness.
Now, wolves don’t understand that humans don’t have such a gland… and they are still wolves. So, wolves will interact with humans in this way, but turning your head away from a wolf kiss is like refusing a handshake. Doing so causes them to lose interest and trot away (and, in rare cases, may cause them to get angry – like refusing to shake another’s hand may do with some temperaments). We did not pay such money to be ignored, so we endured the greeting and acceptance from the wolves.
One wolf, Micah, licked me with such fervor that one of his fangs cut my upper lip; and, being the slightly weird person that I am, I was pretty excited about it. In fact, I am the only person I personally know who has been “wounded” by a wolf. (I will have a story for life!)
Towards the end of our tour, Eric wrestled (read: played with) a two-year-old, nearly full-sized wolf, Keyni. He had a blast rough-housing with him and said that he was about three times more powerful than our precious golden retriever.
Two of the wolves bit my ponytail, both in pursuit of my scrunchie. For some reason, dogs and wolves love the soft squishiness of a hair band. Having your hair yanked by a wild animal is an unnerving experience!
I am so glad Alex happened to tell us about this place! What an experience!
Invest in Each Other’s Interests
For my last birthday, Eric took me to a zoo that offered elephant rides. Not only do I adore elephants, but riding one has been a long held dream of mine. As exciting as it was to ride Beautiful that day, it was all the more special because I shared the experience with him – and I knew he put in the time, effort, and research to make it happen!
After enjoying our wolf time (and time with family and friends), we returned to Lynchburg with a closer bond. It was nice to be able to take part in something so important to Eric. Even though the event was a bit pricier than we would have liked, knowing it would be a lasting memory made it worth the investment. Not just a vacation or something to do, but an investment in Eric and who he is.
When you plan future vacations or seek to create special moments for your loved one, think of those experiences that are undeniably him (or, undeniably her). What does he talk about incessantly? What does she admire every chance she gets? What brings a spring to his step? A sparkle to her eyes? Start there. Be at your sweetie’s side when he or she marks off bucket list items. Be adventure partners. Build these exotic threads into the otherwise oft-muted tapestry of your story.
When you come across seasons of weariness, questions, and sadness in your marriage, step out of the mold for a while. Look for a memory you and your spouse have yet to make, and put feet to your dreams. Eric and I looked forward to visiting the wolves, but we did not expect to return from our trip more emotionally connected and fulfilled.
There will always be responsibilities. There will always be bills. There will always be something on your plate. The perfect time to take these leaps rarely come, so we have to make time. Most of our daily lives are arguably boring, but those flashes of awesome keep us young and eager for something more than good enough.
Always remember to prioritize dream seizing and experience collecting. Have crazy fun with your spouse. Laugh until your sides hurt. Come home with battle scars and campfire stories. Live!
And, let out a howl once in a while.
What is the coolest date you have been on with your significant other?