Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Alamosa, CO - Wetlands and Sand Dunes

We arrived in Alamosa this morning around 10:30am. I think this is one of our earliest arrival times ever.

So we went across the street from our campground to the Alamosa Wildlife Refuge. It's odd to see wetlands with mountains in the background. If it wasn't for the mountains and the snow, we would've sworn we were home in Florida. The Refuge has a 3 1/2 mile auto tour providing information on the region, irrigation ditches, and the wildlife. We saw a herd of elk, a number of unidentifiable raptors swooping and diving, and ducks who took to flight anytime our car got too close. There are a couple of trails we might check out another time.

In the afternoon we went to the Great Sand Dunes Nat'l Park. The dunes here vary in color from pinks, buffs, to charcoal grey. The tallest is 750', which of course we had to climb to. Not the easiest thing to do, but fun. If you look closely at this picture, you'll see two people ahead of us on the "trail". Since the winds wipe away footprints on a daily basis, you're allowed to hike wherever you want in the dunes.
Hiking the ridges seemed most expedient. Unless you careened off one side or the other into a deep bowl.
Here's Andy resting...again. Ha! We're only about half way up, and look at the great view!
After we sat at the summit of the tallest dune for awhile, Andy grabbed my hand and headed for every vertical drop off he could find. I was screaming til I laughed as we ran at full gallop off each drop. Our boots were filled with sand by the time we reached the car.
Something tells me we'll be back here tomorrow to explore the other side of the dunes.

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