All Kinds of News for September 14, 2016
LWT annual Mission: Wolf trip started off with a group check-in and debrief of the itinerary. Each client was asked to clarify an intention for going on the trip and state what they are looking to take away from the experience. For some this was thorough and others it was pithy, but each client mentioned getting to know all the other group members better.
Arriving at Mission: Wolf, the group was greeted by their hosts who provided a tour before setting up camp. The tour was rich with metaphor and told the heart-wrenching stories of how each of the wolves arrived at the sanctuary. The stories of the wolves are of resiliency and good intentions gone wrong, ultimately sharing the education of why one doesn’t try to domesticate a wild animal. Often one of the wolves’ stories echoed parts of each of participants' personal stories, resulting in a connection to the animal that runs deeper than an intrigue of a wild animal and makes it personal. Mission: Wolf has also become a horse rescue, providing refuge for horses that would have been donated for food who still have quality life left. This sanctuary has taken a vested interest in preserving the lives of wild mustangs.
On the second day LWT staff and clients helped with bucking hay bales, stacking wood, and covering the bales with tarps to protect them from the elements at “The Farm,” Kent Weber’s (Kent and his wife Tracy are the founders of Mission: Wolf) personal residence. The service project was physically demanding and left many clients seeing they were capable of far more than they thought. As a show of Mission: Wolf’s gratitude, they let the group sit in the top of the wolf enclosure for a wolf greeting. It was a big feed day which has become very popular, so the enclosure was full of participants excited to have the opportunity to greet a wolf.
At Mission: Wolf their motto is “Education vs. Extinction” and in order to go into the enclosure to get an up close and personal greeting from a wolf, you need to be educated in ways of training and working with them. Before entering, Kent gives a speech that highlights balanced leadership and what happens when we act out of imbalance. He clearly states that we are a guest of the wolves and need to understand their behavior and respect their space to enter their home. Wolves use their mouths like we use our hands, so part of shaking hands is for the wolf to place their nose on your nose and lick your teeth. Several of Living Well’s clients were fortunate enough to encounter this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Though excited for what lay ahead, leaving Mission: Wolf was bittersweet, the group had experienced a family feeling at the sanctuary that made it hard to say goodbye.
The last leg of the journey was a drive to the top of Mosca Pass, a famous entry point to the San Juan Valley in the 1800’s. The group hiked into the Great Sand Dunes National park and glimpsed the one and only Great Sand Dunes of Colorado. The group also hiked into the sand dunes and rolled, boarded, and sledded down the dunes. "Majestic" is about the best descriptor of coming into contact with 14,000 foot peaks in the backdrop of the sand dunes at sunset.
The last morning was casual and offered the opportunity to soak in the past three days while lounging in Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. Each night of the trip, the group processed through individual highs and lows and stated if intentions for the trip were being met. The encouragement was to weigh this out in depth. Reflecting on impactful experiences is a simple and powerful way to integrate new knowledge into our daily lives; hot springs are conducive to this reflection and integration (as well as make the van smell better for the drive home).