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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thrashers and Date Shakes (Wendy)

I really like the desert, for 16 hours each day. People around here laugh and say “You think this is hot? You shoulda seen it last week!” But we’re northerners, and the nineties are pretty unbearable.
We passed a billboard proclaiming WORLD FAMOUS DATE MILKSHAKES! And in smaller letters “Shaded Pet Facilities”. Fortunately, our blog readers had advised us to try date milkshakes. We did. Wowsers Bowsers Triple Trousers! They have an unusual flavour, but date shakes are very good. Not too sweet. Perfect for hot desert dessert. Thank you blog commenters.
We had a rest day in Anza Borrego Desert State Park which we devoted to searching for an elusive bird of open arid land, Le Conte’s Thrasher (LCT). We set off soon after sunrise and checked the mesquite groves where the park ranger had told us to go. No luck. We decided to phone an expert for advice. He didn’t seem to mind being asked a bird question at work. He told us another place to look. “You’ll see them out in the open, running between bushes, with their long black tails sticking up. Sometimes they hop.” By the time we arrived at his spot it was getting hot. I stood quietly in the partial shade of a mesquite and scanned an arc of sand and low creosote bushes, back and forth. Nothing moved. If I was a LCT, I’d be hiding in the shade. I looked some more. Suddenly, I saw something running between bushes, and hopping, and it had a black tail that stuck up! But it wasn’t a bird. It was a jack rabbit.
By noon we were fading, and we cycled the 8 miles back to camp, stopping on the way for ice cream and cold drinks. A few hours later we were out again, thrashing though the desert in search of our bird.
We were sad to leave Anza Borrego stumped. Soon we would be out of LCT range.
A few days later, we cycled down a sandy track in the saltbrush desert, near Tacna, AZ. We had a tip from another local expert. We found a good place to camp. I had had it with walking through desert looking for LCT, but Malkolm and Ken must have felt that 46 miles of cycling was not enough exercise for the day.
“It’ll come to our camp”, I told them as they set off.
I puttered around, cleaned up the mess from a shampoo bottle exploding in our food bag, cooked pasta salad with only a bit of sand for seasoning, and after awhile Malkolm and Ken reappeared. They had seen very few birds. Little wonder, it was about a million degrees.
The sun set as we ate. A few minutes later, Malkolm jumped up. “Where are the nearest binoculars?” He had seen something running over the sand. We all looked. We saw two birds with dark tails sticking up, dashing to and fro. They’d stop to peck at the ground with their long down curved bills. Le Conte’s Thrashers!
We were all so excited and relieved that I forgot to say those four precious little words:“I told you so”.


C.J. Ralph said...

Sounds like a fun ending to another great day! Very inspiring for us all back here in Arcata where the end of season party looms ahead next weekend and the end of most of our banding for the 2007. I'll send you our commemorative t-shirt ... if you need any! cheers, c.j.

Matthew said...

Nice one! I'm glad you picked up the elusive LeConte's- and in camp, no less.

I'll see you in Tucson tomorrow.

Bike safe!