Tag Archives: Colorado

Hiking The Vindicator Valley Trail

Throughout the state of Colorado, the landscape is dotted with memories of the silver and gold mining industries of the late 1800’s.  A high concentration of abandoned mines can be found about an hour outside Colorado Springs.  Miners came to the area trying to reach the Cripple Creek and Victor mining districts with the promise of wealth to be found in the area.   There is a great trail system in this area called the Trails of Gold where you can hike past the remnants of this interesting part of American history.

On this day, we hiked the Vindicator Valley Trail.  This trail is located off Rt. 81 just outside the little town of Victor.  It combines two of my favorite things…ghost towns and hiking! And it is great for photography.  Ok, three things!!

Vindicator Valley Trail Start

The trail is about 2 miles long is a fairly easy hike with some small rolling hills.  The scenery is spectacular!

Part of the Trail

The trail is bordered in most sections by split rail fencing which protects the ruins and hikers from unseen dangers.  Posted signs warn to stay on the trail and keep an eye on kids and dogs.  One never knows where an abandoned mine might lay as more than 500 mines once could be found in this area.

Longfellow Mining Company

Many buildings along the trail have historical information markers.

Vindicator Valley Trail - Abandoned Cabin

I really wished we had been just a couple weeks earlier so that we could have seen the aspens.  It must be even more beautiful in the early fall.

Vindicator Mine


Powder Magazine

This is one of a few powder magazines that have survived.  The explosives were safely and separately kept in these buildings far from the mining operations.

Vindicator Valley Mining

Vindicator Valley Trail Mining Building 1

Vindicator Valley Trail Mining Building 2

Our trip to Colorado was a short one and the Vindicator Valley Trail was the only hiking trail we were able to do this day since we had limited time.  There are nine trails in this area and I hope to explore more in the future.  Check here for trail descriptions and maps.

Stop by Victor for lunch after a day of hiking!


Visiting With Wolves


My husband and I just returned from a wonderful trip out west to Colorado.  I plan to post about a few of the wonderful places we visited on our trip but I first wanted to share our experiences at a special place called Rocky Mountain Wildlife Foundation in Guffey, CO.  This place is a unique sanctuary for captive born wolves and wolf-dog hybrids that have been injured, abused and or neglected.  After meeting the founder, Mark Johnson, one can tell that he pours his heart and soul into caring for these canines.

RMWF started with a wolf named Cheyenne.  Johnson acquired her from another sanctuary when she was 4 1/2 weeks old.  He and his wife raised her and it soon became apparent that Cheyenne was very special. Cheyenne had a gift.  She was able to tell when a person needed her either emotionally or physically.  She was gifted with the ability to heal people.

Read about Cheyenne here.

Unfortunately, Cheyenne passed away in 2009, but the sanctuary goes on.

We were greeted by Mark when we arrived and were given a short presentation about the sanctuary and the story of Cheyenne.  After the orientation, it was time to interact with the wolves!

Even wolves love belly rubs.  Dan rubs Zoya’s belly.


RMWF charges no entrance fee for your visit and operates on donations.  When you visit, it is just you and your group.  It was only my husband and I at our visit.  Before visiting, you make an appointment.  They have several 2 hour appointments daily.  You will interact with the sanctuary residents with your group only.

Mark gives very specific instructions for each wolf you interact with.  He knows each wolf like his own child.  Some are too shy for guest interactions but we were able to personally visit with seven wolves/ wolf hybrids (I think).

Thor was another that loved to give kisses and get belly rubs.




Baby even gave us a howl!


Poor Kiska came from a shelter in Texas.  She is a wolf hybrid.  They are working on getting her weight up.  She is such a love!


A few more shots from the visit…rmwf_6304


If you every find yourself in the Colorado Springs area, I highly recommend a side trip to Guffey to visit this special place.  RMWF is about 1 .5 hours from Colorado Springs. Visit their website Rocky Mountain Wildlife Foundation for information.  Appointments are necessary and all ages are welcome! They are a 501-c3 non-profit organization.


No pictures, but Guffey is a tiny town about 2 streets wide.  Visit the Rolling Thunder Cloud Cafe!  Wonderful owners and great food!  We stopped in after our wolf visit for lunch and had some excellent chili and conversation!