Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10 (Day 161) - Colorado arrival, year bird hat trick!

Since the internet at the Best Western in Cortez, CO is lightning fast, let me first give you this video that I took yesterday in Monument Valley! Old Skool hip hop fans rejoice!

Today was basically scheduled as a day to move the 65 miles from Bluff, UT to Cortez, CO. This ride was a bit more difficult than I expected. I did 3200' of climbing today, but most of it was on steep inclines of around 100-150 yards. The problem that I encountered today was that several of these short but very intense climbs were often stacked in quick succession. It would take 2 mins of very strong pedaling to climb the rise, and only 10 seconds to lose that elevation on the backside before it had to be reclimbed again on exhausted legs. For those familiar with the training terminology, it was like I was doing an anaerobic interval workout in the midst of a long, slow aerobic ride. It was very tiring to say the least.

Ride out of Bluff, UT this morning

I spent most of the afternoon in this very long canyon. 
To my left were high cliffs........

.....and to my right was a creek/riparian area

This video will give you a good idea of the terrain

The long since abandoned Isray trading post

Special delivery?

View from outside Cortez, CO

As you can see from the photos and the video, I had a nice riparian strip along side of the road for most of the late morning and early afternoon. There was constant bird activity along the creek, and I observed a number of birds as I rolled along. Violet-green, Barn, and Cliff swallows, Lark sparrow, Horned lark, Gambel's quail, Western wood-pewee, Blue and Black-headed grosbeaks, Lesser goldfinch, Ash-throated flycatcher, Yellow warbler, Bullock's oriole, Western tanager, Gray Vireo and others. 

I was able to add 3 year birds today: Western meadowlark (#447), Black-billed magpie (#448), Brewer's blackbird (#449). All of these birds were observed at distances that made obtaining photos pointless. I will hopefully see each of these species again, so maybe I'll be able to get a few frames of them. 

I was STOKED to hear my Best Western had a hot tub! Upon my arrival, I immediately went into hippopotamus mode and wallowed in the warm water for half an hour. It felt great!

Tomorrow I will ride to Durango, CO where the real climbing will begin.  I'll be going over 11,000 feet in a few days, so hopefully I can find a few more high elevation year birds! We'll see how the biking goes at that altitude......


  1. I especially like the image of the mail box in the middle of nowhere. Good riding, Tom, Denver, Colorado

  2. No sign photo for Colorado?