"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Wolves, Rocks & Mud

Ramah, NM
Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary
Our good friends, Doug & Dotty, love wolves.  So while we were visiting Arizona where they live, we planned a little camping trip to NW New Mexico to a wolf sanctuary.  We were going to camp there, do a special feeding tour and visit El Morro Rock National Monument.
 Here's a little info from their website: Wild Spirit Wolf Sancuary:
Nearly 60 years after Candy Kitchen, New Mexico, was founded, artist Jacque Evans purchased the abandoned ranch to be her home. Jacque had a great love for wolves and wolf-dogs and became aware of the increasing number of unwanted animals and their special needs. She realized her land could become a refuge and opened her life and home to the animals. In 1991, Jacque founded "The Candy Kitchen Wolf and Wolf-dog Rescue Ranch" and supported animal rescues by selling her artwork. News of Jacque's devotion to the animals quickly spread, and soon, the rescue ranch began to expand.
Barbara Berge was rescuing wolf-dogs in Albuquerque and met Jacque through a rescued animal named Sable in June of 1992. Realizing a common dream, Barbara moved to Candy Kitchen in 1993 to help Jacque transform her rescue ranch into a non-profit organization.
In October 2003, Candy Kitchen Rescue went through reorganization and became Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. At this time, Leyton Cougar took over the position of Executive Director.
It turns out most of the wolves here are hybrids.  Meaning they are part wolf, part dog.  Unfortunately they end up here because people think it will be cool to own a wolf (hybrid).  Then they start to grown up and at one point show territorial and/or aggressive behavior.  That's usually when the sanctuary gets a call.  I prefer to see animals in their natural environment, but rescue organizations do a great service for these poor animals who end up chained or confined to areas much too small.
Besides the wolves, there are New Guinea Singing Dogs, Foxes & Dingos.
Thanks for the warning!

This guy was prompted to howl after one of the staff had his "howl" first.
We were part of a feeding tour.  Here is Steve throwing a special mixture loaf.
Mostly they are fed wild game (such as elk and deer) or poultry.  Once a week they get this 
specially designed "Wolf Loaf" which contains a variety of ingredients intended to mimic the stomach contents of the natural prey of wolves. This is made primarily of beef with other needed nutritional ingredients such as: vegetables, grains, amino acids, essential fatty acids, bone meal, and other vitamins and supplements.

Here goes Dotty.  Good throw!
A satisfied customer!

Not too far away was El Morro Rock. Long ago travelers could find water after days of dusty travel. A reliable waterhole hidden at the base of a sandstone bluff made El Morro a popular stopping point for hundreds of years.  Puebloans, Spanish and American travelers carved over 2,000 signatures, dates, messages, and petroglyphs.  Quite the amazing collection of graffiti that would never be allowed today.  This area is very protected.  You can see fancy signatures, symbols and even a few short stories about their travels.


The different colors of the rocks are very striking from a distance, and beautiful up close!

There are a couple nice paved walks around the "rock" where you can see the carvings.

The famous watering hole.

Black marks left behind where the water trickles down.  Interesting flowers and plants along the way.

1866!  The dates are very interesting.


Remains of bird nests.

I love the elegant penmanship of this one. 
There is a 2 mile trail to the top.  Dogs are welcome on the trail.  A nice surprise, no fee to enter or camp here.  The campground has 9 campsites, no hookups and only trailers up to 27 ft. and tents. There is water during the summer but it is shut off later in the year before it freezes.

If you could fit this would be nice campground for a few days.  Not too much way out here.  There is lots of Indian land from many tribes so you need to be aware of locals customs, rules and laws.  At one small town no photos are allowed of the local people.

The temperature swings were crazy the week we were here.  Sunny and warm when we arrived.

Sunny and warm!

 Then a quick moving storm came through and we enjoyed some beautiful snow. 

What a difference a day makes!

The problem became evident when the temps came up a bit and the snow turned to heavy rain for a couple of days.  Our nice campsite turned into a huge mud pit!  The nice looking packed dirt was quite deceiving.  The mud was thick and sticky.  More like Vaseline.  We stayed an extra day hoping it would harden back up.  No such luck.  We spent hours strategizing how best to get out.  We were stuck badly a couple of times.  No one out here for help except the nice camp hosts who tried to pull us out to no avail. 

Then they brought shovels and lots of cardboard.  With all of us working together it FINALLY worked and we escaped!  Thank goodness for cardboard!  It took hours and lots of hard work to get all that dried mud off the truck and out of all the nooks and crannies of the under carriage.


  1. We stayed at the campground by the wolf sanctuary. It was so neat at night to hear the coyotes calling and the wolves answering. We also went to El Morro. We didn't have to deal with snow and mud though.

  2. How funny that you were there too. Pretty neat place. Yes, we loved hearing the wolves at night too.

  3. The wolf sanctuary sounds wonderful. What beautiful animals! I'm sure that visiting it was great fun. I love that the one howled back:)

    El Morro Rock sounds like my kind of place!! Very cool formations and I love the names and pictographs carved in the rock. Some of the names are so perfect (like the cursive) that you have wonder how they did them and how long it took. I'm glad you included lots of photos. I really enjoyed them.

    1. The handwriting was so amazing! I don't know how they got it so perfect! Wish I could've hiked to the top.

  4. That mud looks like the Moab mud that Ingrid got into awhile back! Nothing will bog a truck down quicker than having the fiver on. I found that out once in sand. And, yes...I'll admit it; it was a Ram that got my Ford out of it. :)


    1. It was awful! Don't want to have that happen again!

  5. This post snuck up on me. Great pics of the wolves and the watering hole wall. Looks like many of the signers used stamps to get that perfect lettering - pretty amazing that they've lasted this long! We had Nokomis, a wolf/malamute mix for 15 years. You could feel her howl as much as hear it. Never aggressive, but skittish around lots of people. Lucky there was cardboard nearby :-)))))

    1. My recent posts (as well as the next couple most likely) may seem out whack. That's because I use the post date as the date we were there to keep them in order. I'm trying my best to get caught up on the next 3 or so before the 4th of July. Too crazy back home the past 2 months. So happy to be back on the road!

  6. This place Ramah should be on our list as we will head back to NM this fall. Those etching or writings on the rocks are pretty amazing!

    Thanks for checking us out.

    1. There were so many. Like reading someone else's yearbook. Pretty cool.

  7. The mud and snow looks like a real treat! I like the drawings and inscriptions on the stone. It is amazing that they have held up so well over the years.

    We have a wolf sanctuary up here as well but no fences or signs!

    1. Loved the snow, hated the mud! We've spent hours power washing it and I still keep finding mud in certain areas underneath! Ya, don't want to see wolves in the wild!


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