WIt is not clear what exactly the trigger is. But suddenly there was a movement in the herd, and slowly some of the animals began to walk. Others follow more and more, and then the barbarism falls on a slight trot. Hundreds of them accelerate, the dull pulsation and the sound of hoofs filling the San Luis Valley.
Dense clouds of dust make it difficult to see the barbaric crowd now running at full speed across the meadows. Suddenly, the dust is gone, the strong heads sink, and the dry grass from the dry ground begins to pluck the dried grass again.
“Aha,” said Kate Matheson as she turned to the farm guests in her horse saddle, “That’s a real scene!” The five riders put their smartphones aside and nodded. “It’s the most classic thing I’ve ever seen,” says a farm visitor from the UK who came to see the barbarism up close. “As a person, you’re the youngest here.”
After dinner in the guest room of the Zapada Farm in southeastern Colorado, farm worker Kate Matheson said, “Wildlife has a very special effect on people.” They are the largest animals on the American continent, the real rulers of this country. We are lucky that we are still able to enjoy them. “
The 100-year-old farm is run by a nature conservation company, 50 kilometers from a nearby village and 370 kilometers from the capital, Denver. United States. This is also one of the few places where visitors can access the barbaric herd on horseback.
Farm visitors train as cowboys
At seven o’clock in the morning, the sun rises over the tops of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It’s still cold, with a couple of farm workers holding steamed coffee cups in their hands. Due to the warmth, not the taste. Farm guests decorate horses, check hoofs, and saddle animals.
Then it starts with water, sandwich and telescope in a saddle bag. Some have bought or borrowed cowboy hats. Like shirts, pants and faces they are dusty after a few days. It smells of desert sage and horse sweat. Today’s goal: to repair a wooden fence within two hours of riding.
This is the special feature of Zapata-Ranch: those who want from guests can give themselves a hand. Instead of going after professional cowboys on guided rides, the part-time cowboys go out with them, watering, licking the cows and vaccinating the barbarians. You can help with animal branding and then take the animals to pasture.
After a day in the air, sand and sun, a rude Wrangler roars “well done” is priceless. Wrangler derives from Low German “Rangel”, which means something like “wrestling”, someone who raises, controls and guides horses.
The hunt led to the almost extinction of barbarism
500 years ago, more than 30 million wildebeests were said to have inhabited the grasslands of North America, probably as many as 50 million. In the mid-19th century, diseases were introduced and, above all, the massive poaching of animals brought “American buffalo” to the brink of extinction.
There were hunting contests or “train hunting”: hundreds of recreational shooters fired on wildebeests from train carriages, leaving the slaughtered animals rotting in the meadow. The US government wanted to snatch the livelihoods of the still submissive Indians through mass killings. In 1889, 541 animals weighing more than a ton still lived in the United States.
We have a responsibility to this country and all its people. We take it seriously, ”said Kate Matheson. “You can see from the savagery where reckless action goes.” Today about 15,000 bison live back in North America, and 2,000 are housed on the Zapada farm.
It is this respectful, compassionate approach to nature that makes this facility so special. After all, the only guest farm in the United States is completely dedicated to nature conservation. The long-term goal is to cultivate agricultural land naturally for decades and then incorporate it into the neighboring Great Sand Dunes National Park.
In addition to farm activities, there are geography, wildlife and ecosystems of the region, wildlife photography workshops and creative writing tours. Most of the 50 farm horses are unsafe, so they do not wear horse shoes – considering animal welfare.
Part of the farm was once converted into a golf course: here nature conservation seeks to restore the meadows to their original vegetation. Also the large wooden table where all the guests eat is served only locally grown food and organic meat.
Until 2016, then-President Barack Obama declared savagery the official national animal. This means the heavy weight – with the bald eagle – is the epitome of the American spirit. President Joe Biden presented a crystal bison sculpture to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the first meeting in mid-July. A spokesman said you stand for flexibility, perseverance and strength.
A spectacular landscape in the Rocky Mountains
Zapada Farm is located in a valley at an altitude of 2300 m Rocky Mountains. The farmland covers more than 400 square kilometers, which is larger than the city of Munich. Bison grazing only 200 square kilometers. Sometimes visitors ride for a day or two without encountering animals.
From a distance, the herd often looks like a large black-brown ridge with hundreds of large bodies. Wrangler Jesse Holstrom says he finds a hedgehog hiding in the branches of a tree while riding “wild like wild boar.” “Buffaloes can run very fast, up to 65 kilometers per hour.
Despite not being “serious cows”, Zapada enchanting horseback rides through these fascinating desert landscapes (“sand dunes of rocks”), through dense aspen and pine forests or – very diligently – to Creston, 35 kilometers away, to eco-tourism and deep fan zen centers. And collect meditation workshops.
Anyone who has “saddle sore” after excursions, i.e. has a sore sore in German, can do so the next day The big river Learn to fly fishing or try some of the best rafting trails on the continent on the Arkansas River.
Fire under the star Colorado sky
Over the past decade, farms have become magnets for the urban weary and those looking for meaning. Zapada Farm also benefits from the boom. Since the US opens for foreign tourists in November, it is a good idea to book at a good time.
“We only have 15 rooms,” says Kate Matheson, “some in the main building, others in the old wooden houses”. Since last summer, farmers have set up a “cowboy camp”: with four tents, beds, showers and carpets. There are flames under the starry sky every night.
The main house of the farm is reminiscent of the Pandorosa farm from old “Bonanza” pictures. Invites you to browse for books on topics such as “The Indian DP” or “Pioneer Women” surrounded by very comfortable, deep armchairs that shine in yellow in autumn. In the evening there are fireplaces, after the buffalo, cowboy songs, ghosts roaming the dilapidated buildings of the Gordon, Orphan Wilderness or nearby Medano Farm, Wranglers say about three-legged coyotes.
In the evening, on the way from the main building to a small wooden house on the farm where guests stay, the moon bathes the lawn in the milk light. In the distance, almost on the horizon, it looks like a dark mountain moving. Very slowly. Towards the west.
Notes and information
Getting there: Non-stop flights from Germany For Denver, for example, Lufthansa and United provide; Condor offers transfer aircraft. From Denver, it is recommended to travel by rental car. Prices are high due to the epidemic, which changed to 600 euros per week. Zapada Farm is a four-hour drive south of Denver.
Ranjurlab: In Germany, Zapada Farm (zranch.orgReservations can be made via Arcus-Raison (argusreisen.de), In a double room (without flights) from 50 2850 per person per week with full board costs. Individual bookings are also possible through the farm website. CRT Tourism (crd.de), Holidays for a while (ruck-zuck-rundreise.deAnd Kanusa (canusa.deOffer additional farm shelters in the US and Canada.
More info: Colorado Travel: colorado.com
Participation in the trip was supported by the Zapada Farm. You can find our standards on transparency and press freedom axelspringer.de/unabhaengigkeit.
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