On Thursday, Ted and I went to Soapstone Prairie, 12,500 acres of open space in Larimer County outside of Ft. Collins.This land is a recent aquisition for Ft. Collins, but an important one, as it provides a crucial linkage to the foothills and mountains of the Red Mountain and Big Hole open spaces. Also, it protects an archeological site, the Lindenmeyer Site, where artifacts from early Clovis people have been unearthed.
Soapstone was once a cattle ranch, but was clearly cared for by the previous owners. The habitat was stunning, probably enhanced by all the rain this year, with tall, verdant grass and a diversity of bright, colorful wildflowers. We saw deer, a prairie cottontail, and birds like meadowlarks, horned larks, and . The impending thunderstorm that chased us during the last part of our hike made for complicated, dynamic skies.
After exploring Soapstone Prairie, we decided to take a drive up to the Wyoming border, only about 30 minutes away, to check out this road-side bison ranch that had recently acquired some camels and we were hoping to catch a glimpse of one of them. As it turns out, the camels were on display in a medium-sized grassy area, enclosed by a tall fence. A school bus of Wyoming high school students was harassing the camels when we got there so we waited and watched until they left before taking our turn.