66 miles to from Laramie, WY to Walden, CO
plus 14 around Arapahoe NWR this evening = 80 miles total
Hosts Don and George from Laramie -
Messi jersey did not do the trick today!
The actual ride today was very pleasant. The first 30 miles or so were very flat as I cruised across the valley floor where Laramie is located. There was a moderate climb midway, and then some rolling up and down until I reached Walden. I was able to cover these 66 miles in exactly 5 hours; This put me into town in time to find a TV and to convince the bar staff to show the World Cup final instead of Nascar (barf). I spent the middle part of the day anchored to the TV hoping that Germany would somehow find a way to squeak by Argentina. I had to wait until the very end of added extra time, but a gorgeous goal by Germany sealed its World Cup triumph and avoided the dreaded and dreadful penalty kicks. My personal feeling is that they should run over time like the NHL: play until someone scores and then that's it (i.e. golden goal). If players don't want to play for 5 hours, then score a damn goal earlier in the game! Deciding these games on penalties is criminal. Thankfully we avoid this today.
Ride out of Laramie
After the soccer, I headed out to the Arapaho NWR to look for Sage-grouse. There is a very nice and lightly used auto loop through a portion of the refuge. This is where I focused my efforts this afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of birdlife I found this late afternoon and evening. On my way into the refuge I had an adult Bald eagle on one side of the road at the same time I had an adult Golden eagles on the other. It was really cool. There were any number of large ponds on the auto loop, and these held all sorts of birds. American Avocet, Killdeer, Wilson's Phalarope, Willet, Green-winged teal, American Wigeon, Redhead, Lesser scaup, Ruddy duck, Northern shoveler, Gadwall, Cinnamon teal, Northern Pintail, Black-crowned night-heron, and American white pelican were all observed along my route. I also had a Peregrine falcon eating a female Lesser Scaup, lots of sage thrashers, and several Vesper sparrows. Blackbirds were also well represented as Red-winged, Brewer's, and Yellow-headed constantly buzzed about. It was a really nice afternoon of birding since their were so many birds! I was able to add Eared grebe for year bird #499 right as I arrived, and I added California gull for #500 right as I left. These were "free" birds that I knew I would find at some point. It did feel good to final get to 500, but I am so focused on Sage-grouse right now that I am not going to spend too much time celebrating this very significant milestone. There are always more birds to find!
Eared grebe #499
California gull #500! Woo hoo!
American avocet chick
Adult American avocet
I scared the Peregrine off this Scaup kill. It was
right in the middle of the auto loop road.
Tomorrow I will spend the morning searching the Walden area for Sage-grouse. Right now the plan is to move to Steamboat Springs in the afternoon, but I have to see what happens in the morning with the grouse before I make a final decision.
Sonia will meet me tomorrow so stay tuned for more from her. It will be great to have her around the next few days. She really helps to keep my spirits up when they might otherwise sag.