Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wild Donkeys of Cripple Creek, Colorado...Diana Decides to Go Back to School and More at the Ranch!

Solo has a new toy and he loves it...I had to wait until his mouth was healed a bit from the surgery before I gave it to him. He is very possessive of it (it squeaks- he LOVES squeaky toys) and won't let the other dogs near it!!
Today I discovered that a wild herd of donkeys live in Cripple Creek, Colorado and are rather famous...there is a fun article about them and more photos at the bottom of the blog. Paco and Luigi would love to roam a town, too! And today I decided for sure (have been thinking about this for some time) to go back to school to finish my units in Early Childhood Education- I got a head start over twenty years ago (gulp) and realized that if I just slowly go at it I can get my certificate within a year. So I'll register on Monday! That's all for today at the ranch!
One happy pup with super clean teeth (what's left!)
The boys visit Farmer Randy.

And the donkeys visit Farmer Randy!


Solo enjoys a warm t-shirt (Randy's) from the dryer!
All Boulder wants these days is to relax. Too bad he doesn't know how to read!
The tomatoes in their new tomato cages.
Soon to be a zucchini!

Resting by the barn.

I wonder if the wild donkeys look this ridiculous?

Summer Travelogue: Cripple Creek’s wild donkey herd flourishes
by Kay Hoflander
July 7, 2007
Cripple Creek, Colorado, is famous for its gold-mining legacy, the world’s largest gold camp, but it is also famous these days for its wild herd of donkeys that roam the city streets.
If you are looking for something you have truly never seen before then this could be it.
Apparently, the wild donkeys are known by tourists and travel guides alike as the World Famous Cripple Creek Donkey Herd.
I saw them with my own eyes, and I still do not quite believe what I witnessed.
You see, these hardy burros walk smack down the middle of Main Street in Cripple Creek, Colorado, bringing traffic to a halt. If these headstrong burros decide to turn down a side street, they do with the entire herd marching lock step behind the lead donkey. They plod along in single file oblivious to the commotion of the city streets.
When I saw them for the first time, I screamed to my husband, “Stop the car.”
He thought I must be sick or forgot something. No, I was merely diving through the luggage in search of my camera so I could hop out and get a snapshot of one of these shaggy, noisy, and apparently very well fed critters. (The Two-Mile Club of Cripple Creek cares for the animals by purchasing extra food and paying for veterinary services. The club gets its name from the fact that Cripple Creek has an elevation of nearly two miles above sea level.)
Naturally, I thought that walking up to a burro was much safer than approaching a bear or some other worrisome mountain animal. A burro one would think would be as gentle as a pony.
Wrong assumption.
As I approached the donkey herd, I saw a small group of three that were happily munching grass in front of the Jackass Café. Yes, that is indeed the correct name of the café. I began taking pictures of the uncooperative burros but could not get a photo of a single one in front of the café’s sign.
The big guy of the three I nicknamed Gus, but he was not an easy photo subject. Little did I know that I had his name slightly wrong by one letter. I should have called him Cus because he was such a nasty-tempered fellow.
Gus the Cus did not like the fact that I was invading his personal space and let out the most awful bray I had ever heard. I jumped back. He continued braying and thus drew a crowd of onlookers who subsequently had lots of great photo opts of the two of us staring at one another. I was hoping to take a photo (thank goodness for my camera’s zoom feature), and he was intent on letting me know who was boss.
He won. I retreated and moved closer to the car.
It was his teeth. Never have I seen so many teeth in any animal’s mouth.
Later in the day, locals told me a story about a donkey that stuck his head in an open car window looking for food or for someone to annoy (the most likely explanation in my opinion) and grabbed a woman’s purse by the shoulder strap. She pulled for dear life trying to save her purse, and the donkey pulled as hard.
All this on Main Street in broad daylight!
Eventually, the donkey gave up, but not without an ear-splitting bray. Incidentally, when donkeys bray, they raise their heads high in the air, plant their feet, and bray as loud as they can. The sound is deafening if one happens to be standing too close. Also, they hold their ground with absolutely no intention of moving for you, me, or anyone else on the planet.
The burros of Cripple Creek, perfectly happy and well cared for as they are, are purported to be the descendants of the donkeys that worked in the turn-of-the-century gold mines. When the mines closed decades ago, the donkeys were left to fend for themselves.
These motley-looking, toothy donkeys have done just fine, and now they are stars in their own right.
A local Donkey Derby Days Festival is held each summer; stores sell donkey stuffed animals and hand puppets; and a bronze donkey statue greets you at one end of Main Street.
Cripple Creek is located on the western slopes of Pike’s Peak about 35 miles southwest of Colorado Springs and sits in the caldera of an extinct volcano.
If you are looking for gold rush history, one can visit the Cripple Creek Museum, classified as one of the best small-town museums in the country. If you are looking for pristine mountain air and gorgeous scenery, then Cripple Creek is a perfect summer destination.
Best of all on a day of the donkeys’ choosing, one can see them parade down Main Street in Cripple Creek. No one knows when the donkeys will show up, but they usually do, and it is a treat indeed to see them.