Sunday, August 2, 2015
Great Sand Dunes National Park
We have now moved from Colorado Springs to Alamosa, Colorado. We are still seeing mountains here in the San Luis Valley. San Juan Mountains and Continental Divide are to the West, and thirty miles south, beyond the San Juan Hills, is New Mexico. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains enclose the Valley to the East and north. They provide a dramatic back-drop to the Great Sand Dunes. In the picture below the dunes are the thin white strip below the mountains. In the foreground is a very arid valley.
It is necessary to cross a creek bed before climbing the dunes. Medano and Sand Creeks wrap their arms around the dunes. The creeks are fed by melting snow from the mountains during the spring months, which resupply the aquifers below the dunes. By August the creeks are just small puddles, as seen in the picture above. What is fascinating about the dunes is that they are constantly changing color due to the play of sun rays and shadows on them. While we were in the area we saw them change from brown to gray to pink and white. Clouds above us also were ever changing, from fluffy white to dark rain clouds. It never rained that hard on us, but off in the distance we could tell that the rain was pouring down.