While Malkolm was cycling to Haines, Alaska with his class, Wendy and I did a three-day “shakedown” trip of our own. Didn’t go far, but we discovered:
We aren’t as young as Malkolm.
It isn’t that easy to tell a Pacific Golden Plover from an American Golden Plover.
When your friends tell you to go light on bicycle touring adventures, listen to them.
It is less than six weeks until we set off.
Lake Laberge was still thick with ice, but in the sliver of open water at the mouth of Deep Creek there were Goldeneyes (both Barrow’s and Common), Trumpeter Swans, Mallards, Pintails and Blue-winged Teals. A couple of dozen American Widgeons strolled on the mudflats like sandpipers, which didn’t seem to bother the real sandpipers (we didn’t have Malkolm to identify the peeps) and plovers (both Golden and Semipalmated). A female Smith’s Longspur poking along the shore looked lonely. The Killdeer nearby looked at home.
The 55 kilometer (34 mile) cycle home into a headwind took a long time.
Malkolm is cycling on! He is now cycling from Alaska to Washington DC, and then continuing on to the UN Climate Change conference in Cancun in December.
It all started with Bird Year, Malkolm and his parents' year-long, fossil-fuel-free journey in search of birds. Cycling a total of 13,133 miles (21,144 km), they identified 548 different bird species and raised more than $25,000 for bird conservation. Bird Year turned them into confirmed cyclists and taught them that climate change was more serious than they had thought.
In 2009, Malkolm biked from Whitehorse to Ottawa as a part of Pedal for the Planet: the project called for the Canadian Government to become a leader in the struggle to come to grips with climate change. The Harper Government did not even meet with the young cyclists.
Malkolm is now 18 and just finished high school. On August 24, he dipped his foot in the Pacific Ocean in Skagway, Alaska. Then headed up and over the White Pass to the Alaska Highway on his journey to Washington and on to Cancun.