Return to Calhan and the Paint Mines with Zeb the Duck

A nice sunny day and I, Zeb the Duck, returned to Calhan, Colorado.    I really enjoyed my prior visit to the Paint Mines, but that was over a year ago.   So I came back.

Paint Mines

Calhan and the Paint Mines are just off US 24, southeast of Denver and northeast of Colorado Springs.   This is prairie and agriculture land, so the paint mines are a surprise.

Prairie and agricultural use of land

You can the clouds coming in by mid afternoon.   Only walking is allowed:  no bikes, no motorized vehicles and no pets are permitted.   Walking up a moderate slope, we finally see our first mine.

Paint mine. White with gold

The clay here is mostly white, with some gold.   Scientists believe this area has been inhabitated for 9,000 years.   Scientists also believe these geological features were being formed about 55 million years.   Walking further, we loved this formation, or hoodoo.

Sculptures formed by nature

Amazing, and all carved by nature.   Wind, snow and rain have shaped the land.   This sign tells more.

An explanation

Often it is preferable for me to show you the sign, rather than have mom paraphrase the information.   In this area we are seeing more red.

Seeing red and some black here

Notice the reds and the black rocks.   It is believed that the native people of the United States used this clay to make pottery in colors, and also used the colored clay for face paint.   This is probably my favorite hoodoo.

Great hoodoo or formation

If I were a young human, this would be one of my favorite places to get away from everyone.   Can’t you imagine sitting up here, enjoying the silence and staring at the stark landscape?  Here is another good spot.

Shelter for small human or animal

This is a much smaller space, but I imagine humans taking shelter in here for thousands of years.   A place for protection from wind, snow, rain or just too much sun and heat.   Today this place is beautiful with pleasant weather, but that is not always true.  And more colors.

Path through colors of clay

This is beautiful.   You can see that some paths are really rocky and quite narrow.   Here is another path in white clay areas.

Narrow path

This narrow path was probably formed by rushing water, from either rain or snow.  I hope you visit the Paint Mines.   They are nice to see.   This is a great family place for hiking and enjoying fresh, clean air.    You get exercise, have fun, learn things and it is all free.   And the best part…it is not crowded.   We read a lot of tourist information and we never see these Paint Mines mentioned.   Don’t wait too long before you visit.   As a reminder, the prairie and grasslands of Colorado do have a lot of wind.

Wind turbines

These huge wind turbines are a constant reminder of how the weather can change here.   Visit Calhan and the Paint Mines on a nice day and you will enjoy your time here.   I, Zeb the Duck, came here last fall, with mom and her human friend.   We were not out exploring during the stay at home orders.   This is a great place to visit in spring and fall.   We hope you visit on a sunny, cool day.   Exploring, hiking and just looking in wonder at the colors is fun for us.   Perhaps you would enjoy it as much as we do.

Ice Festival in Cripple Creek, Colorado with Colorado Traveling Ducks

Cripple Creek is one of our favorite mountain towns.  In February we went to the 13th annual Cripple Creek Ice Festival.

Welcome to Cripple Creek

Sculpting ice starts with chain saws and ends with tiny tools for great details in the ice.   Previous years a committee had a theme and all carvers followed the theme.   This year it was Carver’s Choice.   First we saw these carvings of Giant Insects in Ice by Snice Carvings.

Giant insects of ice

We love these giant insects.

Giant insects of ice

And every show needs a lady bug.

Ice sculptures

This crab even has the markings on his back.

Giant insects

Remember, Cripple Creek has limited stakes gambling.

Poker table of ice

There were real cards under the ice on this poker table.  And we all love Mystical Creatures.

Ice sculptures

This display of mystical creatures in ice won the People’s Choice Award.  All are magnificent, but we do love unicorns.

Ice sculptures

Toy Story 4, because we are all kids at heart.

Ice sculptures Toy Story 4

Balancing on ice?

Ice sculptures

This sculptures is for touching, but sitting on an ice hat is rather chilly.

Ice hats are cold

Wow.

Ice sculptures

The gang is here.  Shivering makes small ducks hungry.

Kiki’s Cookies and Cakes

Kiki’s Cookies and Cakes are tempting.   Maybe grilled meat sandwiches?

Great food available

So many choices.  And all are delicious.

Bennett Street, Cripple Creek

If it were warm outside, mom would be in that ice cream parlor.  This ice slide is for young humans.

Ice slide

They sit on mats and slide down.   The kids are having a great time.  And of course one of our favorites, funnel cakes.

No need to be hungry

But elephant ears?  We are ready to try anything.  Another reminder.

Cripple Creek has limited stakes gambling

Cripple Creek does have limited stakes gambling.   But today we are just looking at ice sculptures and snacking.   Perhaps casino hopping next trip.  There were so many more ice sculptures that we did not show you.   All are beautiful, especially with Colorado sunshine on them.   We hope you visit Cripple Creek next February for the 2 week ice festival.   It is wonderful.

Snow Sculptures, Breckenridge, Colorado 2020

This winter there has been a lot of snowfall in the Colorado Mountains.   Everything is white and beautiful.   However, for the international snow sculpture competition, snow made at Breckenridge Ski Resort is used.   The snow is made with a specific ratio of snow to water, some of the best for sculpting.   This January was the 30th Anniversary of Snow Sculpture Champions.   Here we are in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Breckenridge festival 2020

This train is not part of the competition, but is snow glow art with light and sound, and sadly, operates only after dark.

Snow Glow Art, not in competition

We live less than 2 hours from here, and we will be home before dark.   Let’s look at some of this year’s snow sculptures.

Team Turkey. Puzzle Circle

Turkey sculpted this Puzzle Circle.   These creations are carved from a 20 ton block of snow that is 10 feet by 10 feet and 12 feet tall.   Team India won Artists Choice Award with Triumph Over Evil.

Team India. Triumph over Evil

This year 16 teams from the USA and around the world competed.  No power tools are allowed during the sculpting.   Many teams make and bring their own tools.   Just can’t find many snow sculpting tools in large stores.   Team Mongolia created Social.

Social by Team Mongolia

Notice the details in the hands, fingers and fingernails.   Amazing.   Team China completed Bride.

Bride by Team China

So intricate.   For environmental awareness, Teddy the Yeti is on display.

Teddy the Yeti

Zeb tries out this seating area.

Sit with Teddy

Nice, but a little chilly.    The small humans loved this bench.   Toyota sponsored this event.

Festival sponsored by Toyota

A very nice vehicle of snow.   Snow blocks were made the week before sculpting began.   Sculpting began Monday, January 20, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. and ended Friday, January 24 at 9:00 a.m.   That is when judging began.   Viewing continued through Wednesday, January 29 at 7:00 p.m.   The sculptures were taken down then.   This year was cold enough, but some years sculptures melt and fall early.   Breckenridge tries to prevent anyone from being injured by falling sculptures.  Unfortunately we are not showing all the team entries.   This post would just be too long, and it is rather long as it is.    All of the sculptures were award winning quality, but let’s look at those that did win.   Third place to USA Team Wisconsin.

Third place Winner. Duplicity of the Soul. Team USA Wisconsin

This is titled Duplicity of the Soul.   You must look from both sides.

Third place winner. Duplicity of the Soul. Team USA Wisconsin

Energy flows through and each person must choose how to live their life.   Second place to Team Great Britain.

Second place Winner. Nice to Meet You. Team Great Britain

Titled, Nice to Meet You, this should bring a smile to anyone that has ever owned a dog.   Or perhaps, full blown laughter.

Second Place Winner. Nice to Meet You. Team Great Britain

Again this is best viewed from two sides.   We will admit, we loved them all, but this from Great Britain is our favorite.   And first place to Team Mexico.

First place Winner. Greed. Team Mexico

Titled Greed.   We love these snow sculptures.   Remember that Breckenridge is also a great ski area.

Gondolas to transport skiers to top

The gondolas take skiers up the mountain.

Rocky Mountains of Breckenridge

And the mountains are beautiful, snowy and very tall.   Visit Breckenridge for snow sculptures, skiing or any of the other great festivals during the year.

Winter in Colorado with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

It is winter here in Colorado.   Denver has over 300 sunny days each year, so our winters are usually pleasant.   We do get snow, but often our intense sun melts the snow within a few days.   This winter started with heavy snow in October, a little early for us.   Let’s look at some winter photos from the past.

Snow on frozen lake

A cold, snowy day in Denver.   We ducks are enjoying this weather and we like the almost frozen lake behind us.

Canadian geese

We are not the only birds out today.   These geese stay here all year.   Snow is much heavier in the mountains, and of course, in our world famous ski areas.   Last February we visited Rangely, Colorado in the northwest corner of the state.

Snow pile

Rather high snow piles here.   Ice climbing is popular in Colorado.

Ice column

Here you can practice or learn the basics of ice climbing.  We often go to Winter Park in January.   Winter Park is a popular ski area and only about 90 minutes from Denver.   This resort is also developed for summer fun.  Many of our ski resorts are year round vacation playgrounds.

Cleaning the roof

Here maintenance people shovel the roof of our condo.   A few feet of snow and ice is too dangerous and heavy for many roofs.   And the parking area also needs to be shoveled.  Melting caused by our intense mountain sun lets melting occur daily, but then freezing takes over every night.

Icicles on our deck

The resulting icicles are pretty big–and sharp.   Icicles can be seen all over Winter Park.

Good food inside

Horse drawn sleigh rides are available.

Horse drawn sleigh. Ducks on step ready to get in.

We love these.   Riding through clean snow with beautiful mountain views is fun.

Colorado Rocky Mountains from our sleigh

After the ride, we enjoy roasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate.   More fun available here.

This is a big snowmobile. Too big?

Snowmobiles are available in most places.   These are near the tubing hill.   But let’s see Colorado’s main winter sport.

Skiers and Snowboarders

Skiing is very popular in the Colorado mountains.

Skis and snowboards are temporarily placed here

And, of course, a place to leave skies while eating or shopping is necessary.   We hope to be back in Winter Park soon.   In Breckenridge, Colorado, another ski resort, late January brings world champion snow sculpting.

Team Iceland

This is from a past year.   If you are in Colorado in late January, try to visit Breckenridge to see these sculptures.

Team Breckenridge

They are wonderful to see.   Rocky Mountain National Park is close to Denver, an easy and enjoyable day trip.

Rocky Mountain National Park

The snow falling is like living in a Christmas card.

Bull elk in the snow

And a breathtaking sight is a bull elk standing by the road, knowing you will stop for him, and admire him.   If you are in Colorado during the winter, enjoy the mild weather of Denver, but visit our mountains for a true winter wonderland.   We will soon be heading to the mountains for some winter fun.

Manassa, Conejos and Antonito in San Luis Valley, Colorado with Zeb the Duck

Humans say this is our last day to explore the San Luis Valley.   After leaving the town of San Luis, we go to Manassa, Colorado.   Manassa is the birthplace of Jack Dempsey.

Jack Dempsey, the Manassa Mauler

Jack Dempsey was born in Manassa June 24, 1895.  He became a boxer and was heavy weight champion from 1919-1926.   This was sculpted by Bob Booth.   Dempsey was often called the Manassa Mauler.   The small Jack Dempsey museum was closed for the season.

Jack Dempsey museum

We were there in late September.   I liked this old bell.

Old bell

I, Zeb the Duck, like old things that I can touch.   Our next stop was in Conejos, Colorado.   This street is dedicated to veterans.

Conejos, Colorado. Tribute to veterans

New trees were planted this year.   I hope they survive their first winter.   Our Lady of Guadeloupe Parish is the oldest parish in Colorado.

Church for oldest parish in Colorado. Conejos, Colorado

This is the church they currently use.   The first church was built of pickets in 1863.   A larger church was built, but was destroyed by a fire in 1926.   This church has been in use since 1927.

Inside

The inside is beautiful.   Looking back toward the entrance.

Inside. Choir loft

The choir loft is in the back, but we could not climb to the loft when we visited.   Look at this window.

window

As I have mentioned, I, Zeb the Duck love stained glass windows.   Outside we admired the grotto.

Grotto

Isn’t this nice and peaceful?  We are only a few miles north of Antonito, so we go into town.   There is a great train ride from Antonito.   Maybe next time?   We go to see Cano’s Castle.

Help mom

Hey mom.   I don’t know this dog.   This is not our Chloe.   Tom has rescued me.   Thanks Tom!

Cano’s castle

We learned about Cano’s Castle on RoadsideAmerica.com   Cano, a Vietnam Veteran, is building this castle, using an assortment of materials.   I see many hubcaps and other materials.   There are thousands of aluminum cans.   The ends of the cans are cut off and nailed to the walls.   The middle of the cans are turned inside out and hammered to the walls to create aluminum siding.   Cano came out to talk with us.  He is building this for Jesus.

Cano’s castle

If you are near Antonito, Colorado, you should stop to see Cano’s Castle.   You can only look from the street.   There are no tours of this creation at this time.   It is interesting to see what people can and want to do.  We enjoyed our trip to Colorado’s San Luis Valley.   But like everywhere, there is still so much more to see.   Hope you visit soon.

Shrine of the Stations of the Cross in San Luis, Colorado

Today we are following the path up the hill to the Shrine of the Stations of the Cross.

Up cement steps. To chapel on the hill

I, Zeb the Duck, am ready to walk up this cement path.   That chapel is pretty far away.   Where is the cement?

Good dirt path

Most of this path is dirt.   But it is an easy path, so all is good.  People come from all places to visit this Shrine of the Stations of the Cross.   We met and chatted with a very nice couple from England.   Here we are at Station I.

Station of the Cross I Pilate condemns Jesus to die

This is where Pilate condemns Jesus to die.  All of these sculptures are done by Huberto Maestas.   We think these sculptures are fabulous works of art.   Huberto Maestas has his studio here in San Luis, Colorado.  Each station has a beautiful sculpture and two plaques explaining the station and some biblical explanations.   This is Station VIII, Jesus speaks to the Women.

Station VII Jesus speaks to the women

We wanted you to see the detail and expression in these sculptures.

Station VIII Jesus speaks to the women

This station has two sculptures.   One of the women and one of Jesus carrying his cross.   At Station XI Jesus is nailed to the cross.

Station XI Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

These are bronze sculptures.   At Station XIV Jesus is laid in the tomb.

Station XIV Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

As you can see, many humans have left objects on the cross.    Traditionally there are 14 Stations of the Cross, but here a 15th station has been added.

Station XV The Resurrection of Jesus

This station shows the Resurrection of Jesus.   The path is a little less than one mile, but seems like an easy walk if you stop to see each sculpture and read the two plaques at each station.    At the top we entered the small chapel.

Chapel

No regularly scheduled church services exist here.

Inside chapel

The interior is very nice.

Inside chapel

I, Zeb the Duck,  like to show you views from the front and from the back.   Humans sometimes leave offerings here.   We found a small bunch of fresh carrots near the front.  The view of San Luis from the top is beautiful.

View of San Luis and the “Vega”

The valley is one of only a few “vegas” or public grazing lands in Colorado.   The pastures belong to all the people.   Not to a single person.   This is a nice community feeling.  If you are in or near San Luis, Colorado, we hope you visit the Shrine of the Stations of the Cross.   We really enjoyed our time here.

San Luis, Colorado’s oldest town, with Zeb the Duck

We are in the San Luis Valley, and today we are visiting the town of San Luis, Colorado.

San Luis, Colorado

This is the oldest town in Colorado.   This is town is older than the state of Colorado.   Colorado became a state in 1876.   We love the murals on the buildings.

Colorful mural

San Luis was settled by people from Mexico.   There were wild horses in the area.

horse

We love horse statues.   This is a small town.   The 2010 census showed a population of 629 for the town of San Luis.

Street in San Luis

We enjoy the small town feeling here.  This colorful mural is on the Visitor’s Center building.

Visitor’s Center

It is beautiful, and so bright.   Behind the Visitor’s Center, we found Most Precious Blood Catholic Church.

Most Precious Blood Catholic Church

We entered the church and gazed at the alter.

Inside church

We love the old churches.   And this is an old church, built in 1886.   From the alter the view toward the entrance is wonderful.   It is so peaceful in here.

Inside church

And my favorite part of many old churches.

Beautiful window in church

The stained glass windows.   I love stained glass.   San Luis is a small, but friendly old town.   We felt welcome here and everybody we talked with was so nice.   Next post we will take you to the Shrine of the Stations of the Cross in San Luis.

Path to Shrine of the Stations of the Cross.

You will love it.

Fort Garland, Colorado

As the United States was exploring and claiming territory in the 1800’s, military forts were needed to attempt to keep peace between the settlers and the indigenous people.     In 1852 a military presence was needed in the San Luis Valley.   Fort Garland was built, using the local bulding material, adobe or mud bricks.   Fort Garland opened in 1858.   Today, I, Zeb the Duck, and the humans visited Fort Garland, Colorado.   Paying our fee, looking at museum items and the gift shop, we entered the inside of the Fort.

Parade ground and flagpole

This is the Parade Ground and Flagpole.   Looking down one side, I hopped on the picnic table.

Ready for a picnic

Five of the 22 original buildings are still standing.  Original buildings were constructed in adobe, the style of this area.   Adobe is basically mud and water.   Let’s go in the Soldiers Theater, one of the original buildings.

Soldiers Theater. Probably former barracks

This was probably used as a barracks.

Living quarters

The plaques said soldiers slept 2 to a bunk, sleeping head to toe.   The soldiers were also required to bathe once a month, whether they needed it or not.   This is not like today when humans seem to shower daily.   Table for morning coffee and planning.

Coffee and planning

All space had a purpose and this post became a temporary home for rifles.

Early rifles

Colorado did not become a state until 1876, after the US Civil War ended, but as a territory, Colorado did have a role in that war.   A major battle, the Battle of Glorieta Pass, in New Mexico, was fought between Colorado (Union side) and Texas (Confederate side).   Texas was to go into Colorado, through New Mexico, and take the Colorado gold fields.   Colorado won this battle in March 1862, forcing the Confederate soldiers to retreat back to Texas, and Colorado kept their gold fields.

Typical camp

This is a typical camp during the battle.   Howitzer cannons have been recovered and one is here.

Cannons

Here is the Howitzer at Fort Garland.

Howitzer cannon

It looks pretty good for being over 150 years old.   After the Civil War the former slaves were free.   Some joined the military.

Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Calvary

The Buffalo Soldiers West were here at Fort Garland.

Uniforms and accessories

We saw some uniforms and accessories for the Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Calvary.   Many of the black soldiers won awards and medals and some received the distinguished Medal of Honor.   Next we entered the Infantry Barracks Museum.

Exhibit in Infantry Barracks Museum

This is a nice display.   And a cart.

Cart pulled by oxen

I believe this is the type of cart pulled by oxen.   Not too comfortable, but a saddle.

saddle

Looks similar to ones on oxen to secure the load.   We stayed until closing time.   Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center has so much to see.   And we didn’t see everything.   In the Officer’s Quarters building, we saw this model of Fort Garland when it was used.

Model of Fort Garland

Kit Carson was the commander here, in 1866, after the American Civil War.   We hope you visit and enjoy Fort Garland.

Great Sand Dunes National Park with Zeb the Duck

Colorado is hundreds of miles from any large body of water, but we have sand dunes.   Let’s go to Great Sand Dunes National Park and see the highest sand dunes in North America.

Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado

As we drive to the Visitor’s Center, we stop to admire the view.

Road to Visitor’s Center

These dunes are probably close to 440,000 years old.   The Great Sand Dunes National Park covers 33,549 acres (13,576 hectares).   That’s a lot of sand.   Our first stop is usually the Visitor’s Center, and here we are.

Visitor’s Center

Let’s see what they say about today at the Great Sand Dunes National Park.   The summer sand surfaces reach 140 degrees F, (60 C) but this is a nice day in late September.    So walking on the sand is fine.   Wear closed toe shoes and monitor pets’ feet.   The humans are wearing appropriate shoes and we have no pets.   No, I, Zeb the Duck, am not a pet.   I am the star of this blog.   Back to the car, we drive a short distance, park and then start walking on the sand.

A long walk for a small duck

It is hard to walk in loose sand, so mom takes off her shoes.   That only lasts about 10-15 minutes.   Sand too warm, shoes back on and off we go again.   Getting closer, we see people already on the dunes.   They sure look small.   We still have a lot of sand walking to do.

Getting closer. Humans ahead

There really are several humans on the dunes.   They sure are tiny.   They will walk and hike on the dunes, some will sand board down the hills and we even saw some with a hang glider.   All so much fun, but quite strenuous to climb the dunes to enjoy a favorite way back down.  My little duck legs are screaming for mercy.

As far as my short duck legs wanted to walk

OK mom, this is enough.   Now, tell me, how did all this sand get here?   The sand dunes are in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado.   The San Juan Mountains are to the west and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains are to the east.   Most of the sand comes from the San Juan Mountains, about 65 miles (104 km) west of us.   The valley was once a huge lake and sand and sediment settled in the lake.    As the lake reduced, winds from the southwest bounced the sand piling it against the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.   Northeasterly storm winds blast through the Sangre de Cristo Mountain passes, piling dunes back on themselves, creating North America’s tallest dunes, 750 feet (213 m) high.   That’s what we learned at the Visitor’s Center.  Walking back toward the car, we stop to admire the view.

Heading back towards car

A great view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  We love these sand dunes, here in Colorado.   The elevations in the national park range from 7,500 feet (2,286m) to nearly 14,000 feet (4,267 m) above sea level.   Climates change with the altitude, so be sensible and be prepared.   In the spring Medano Creek runs through the Great Sand Dunes National Park.   Snow collects in the Sangre Cristo Mountains from October into April, then with spring warm up, the snow melt feeds the Medano Creek which flows through the national park, providing great entertainment for human visitors.   While feeding the underground aquifers for the San Luis Valley, the creek seems to have tide movements providing great fun for small and adult humans as they enjoy the cool water in the hot sand dunes.   We were there in late September, so there was no water in the sand dunes.

Path of Medano Creek in the spring

But we could see where the river runs in the spring.   Mom, we need to come back here in the spring.   Driving a little more in the national park, we found the amphitheater.

Amphitheater

Our national parks have interesting presentations, but today’s presentation had been cancelled.   The Great Sand Dunes National Park is open 24 hours a day.   At night, be sure to enjoy the incredible display of stars on a clear night.   We hope you visit here.   We think you will find it very interesting and a lot of fun.

Colorado Alligator Farm with Zeb the Duck

Alligators in Colorado??   Of course.   Why wouldn’t a high altitude desert have alligators that live in tropical waters?   OK   This is why we have an alligator farm.

Alligator Farm in Colorado

Isn’t it funny how things happen?   Start raising fish, have fish parts for disposal, bring in alligators to remedy the problem.   Soon you have a tourist destination for Colorado alligators.   Then other humans had exotic pets like snakes and other reptiles.  Soon humans realize they cannot care for these animals as they grow to adulthood.   What to do now?   Take them to the alligator farm.

Large African Sulcata Turtle

Here is an African turtle.   He was abandoned here years ago.   Now there are several African turtles here.  Mom said turtles do not eat little rubber ducks.   Are you sure?   He is coming pretty fast.   But let’s slow down here.   First we park, enter building, pay our fee, and meet the first African turtles.   Before entering the first room, we pet this alligator, he feels like hard rubber.   Now Tom holds the alligator and I, Zeb the Duck, sit on the alligator.

Tom holding alligator. I’m riding on the alligator

This is fun.   Everybody that enters pets the alligator and gets their photo taken with their camera.   You can purchase the photo or use your own camera and take your own photos.   In the first room, we immediately notice the heat and humidity.   This room has many exotic, tropical animals.

Parrot

This parrot was very loud, but friendly.   We saw many snakes in cages.   All had been relinquished by their human owners, or rescued after being abandoned.   The alligator farm is becoming a sanctuary.   Remember all this started because some humans wanted to raise fish for human consumption.   Here is a green iguana.

Green iguana

Iguanas live in Central and South America and the male can grow to 6 or 7 feet (1.8-2.1 meters) in length.   Too big for a household pet.   Walking outside there are many alligator areas.   Fences are in place to separate the humans and alligators.   I, Zeb the Duck, am staying on the human side.

Alligators enjoying the sun

These alligators have water available, but seem to be soaking up the autumn sun.

Alligator has an overbite. Big, sharp teeth

These alligators seems to have an overbite.   I can see many sharp teeth.   I’m staying close to mom.   Here is Elmo the Emu.

Elmo the Emu

Elmo is mean.   He tried to kill his siblings and had to be moved to a separate area.   There is another area with more emu.   Elmo even put his head over his fence to snap at my humans.   Wow.   More distant cousins.

White ducks

Aren’t these white ducks beautiful and so graceful in the water.   I like this canal or river.

Swimming along the water

This alligator is leisurely swimming today.   Here are the rare stars of the alligator world.

White alligators

White alligators are rather rare.   They have only been found in the southeastern US state of Louisiana.   There were three layers of fences here.   The camera lens went through the first fence, but these additional fences made it difficult to take photos.  Baby alligators are about 8 inches (20.3 cm) long at birth.   Less than 1% of baby alligators survive to become adults.   Humans have not found any adult white alligators in the wild.   Born in the swamps and bayous of Louisiana, the white color makes them more visible to prey.   The theory is that they are quickly eaten by predators.   The sign says there are only about 100 white alligators in captivity.  And we are looking at three of them.   Years ago we visited the Alligator Farm and there were less fences. This is a photo of the white, albino alligator from 2013.

Albino alligator

This last alligator, Freeway, is probably mom’s favorite.

Freeway, an alligator TV star

This lady alligator was found wandering along the freeway.   She was taken to people that provide animals for movies and commercials.   Freeway starred in the Lubriderm commercials.    She was also in TV shows, including Dexter.   Mom enjoyed the Dexter series.   Now this is an alligator fact that surprises us.

Really??? Frozen alligators thaw and then swim??

Alligators can be in frozen water, thaw out and then swim to warmer water.   That is almost unbelievable and just amazing.   And fortunate for alligators and for us.   Wherever you go, you always learn something new.  Learn more at http://www.coloradogators.com   The alligator farm is 17 miles north of Alamosa, Colorado.    Visit our alligator farm.   It is fascinating.