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We started off the day on a hike with a Colorado Master Naturalist at the Soapstone Prairie Natural Area. It took us awhile to find it because it is new (2 years old) and our GPS wouldn’t show how to get there. My smart phone gave directions but I’m not sure where we ended up other than a dead end dirt road way north of the place. Finally with a paper map, I was able to get us in the general area where there were signs pointing us to the right place. Suzy in the entrance station was so welcoming that it made us glad to make the effort in finding this. She really made us feel special.
The program was excellent and Eileen did an excellent job. You could tell she really enjoyed her topic and knew what she was talking about. Then we hiked up the trail where we saw lots of wildflowers and saw plenty of birds. I saw a lot of different plants than I see in SC. We also saw a golden eagle! I would highly recommend this place to people who like the outdoors. We also saw pronghorn while we were driving in. This was so different from what we experienced in the Rocky Mountain National Park. It is hard to believe that this was right near where we were staying.
When we left there we drove over to Red Mountain Open Area which was very scenic too. We saw more pronghorn along the way. I’m glad we came here but I think the Soapstone Prairie area was much prettier.
The next stop was at the Anheuser Busch Brewery for a tour. We did this two years ago but we enjoy the tour and the beer samples.
Next we decided to stop at two yarn stores. We never did find the store Lambspun so we ended up at My Sister Knits. It was an awesome store which was actually located in a carriage house in the back yard. The garden on the way was absolutely beautiful and inviting. Once I walked in, I was immediately greeted! When I mentioned that I was from SC, Julie (the owner) seemed glad I was there and explained the layout to me which included an upstairs. I went upstairs to fondle and drool over the yarn. Finally I picked out some yarn to buy and came downstairs. There I found some different yarn that I wanted (I wanted it all but I had to be sensible! This was just the 11th day of a 90 day trip!) Then Julie offered to wind the yarn up for me! I just thought that was so sweet! While I waited, I helped another customer untangle her yarn on the yarn swift in the main area. We had a really nice conversation (she told me her name but I forgot it, sorry!). Even my hubby thought it was a great place. He enjoyed the garden and then sat in the front yard in comfortable white lawn chairs to watch the trolley go by twice. I think he almost fell asleep and when it started to rain, he took cover in the car. If I ever come back to Fort Collins, this will definitely be a scheduled stop for me!
What I Learned Today:
· Elk are a prairie species and have adapted to the mountains.
· Birds in the Soapstone Prairie: mountain plover, meadowlarks, greentailed towhees, spotted towhees, lark sparrow, horned larks, lark bunting, loggerhead shrikes, red tailed hawk, harrier, and golden eagle
· Loggerhead shrikes are flycatchers and impale their prey on the points of yucca plant (kind of like a bird bbq). They come back later to eat them.
· Yucca moth pollinates the yucca plant at night. Both need each other to survive.
· A mountain lion territory covers about 200 miles.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: Soapstone Prairie by Pat Hensley