It was a bright blue-skied, warm mid-60′s day and we decided to end our Winter climbing hiatus and return to Kraft Boulders. Outfitted with the newest kids’ Petzl Picchu climbing helmet for my three-year-old, we dusted off our climbing kit, grabbed our crash pad and headed to Calico Basin where the vast red sandstone boulder field lays at the base of Kraft Mountain. The weather was unseasonably warm that I ended up wearing just a t-shirt — the warm sun felt great.
As we pulled off of NV-159 onto Calico Basin Road, the sky was a piercing deep blue and we were eager to get out to the boulders. Then, as we turned right, just past Red Springs, we came across a group of 3 wild donkeys that were getting ready to cross the road.
We had seen wild donkeys at Red Rock before, but never this close. One other car had pulled over to take photos – and we joined them. The 3 donkeys were disinterested in the human observers and simply ambled across the road onto a grassy field. One had a dark mask on its face and all three had a distinct, dark-ridged strip running down the upper part of their front legs.
After an afternoon of bouldering, we returned back down Calico Basin Road and came across the same three wild donkeys, frolicking in a neighborhood yard just a few yards from where they crossed the road. We once again stopped to photograph them as the low sun reddened Kraft Mountain in the distance.
It took everything I had to keep the kids from running up to and trying to pet the donkeys. I reminded them that they were wild animals and that we needed to respect them and give them plenty of room (and I’m sure there are a billion rules, laws, and regulations saying just that.) We finished taking photos and wished the donkeys farewell.