Friday 14th September 2018
Today’s drive took us to Alamosa through more mountain roads and through a delightful small town called Saguache (pronounced Suh-watch) where we stopped for lunch. Come with me along the drive and for a walk around the little town in the following gallery.
After arriving in Alamosa, we drove on to see The Great Sand Dunes which were fascinating. They are the highest sand dunes in North America and don’t move like ours do, they shift just a few feet one way and then a few feet back depending on the winds. One of the rangers explained to me that the prevailing South Westerly winds blow the sand mass North Easterly and then powerful North Easterlies, sometimes 40+miles per hour, blow the sand back toward the South West. This back and forth action piles the sand vertically. We saw a photo from a hundred years ago that showed the Dunes then to be where they are now!
You can see them from miles away as you approach and they look vast. As you get closer, they just get bigger and vaster! Not until you’re nearly at their border does their true scale become apparent: dunes up to 750 feet tall, extending for mile after mile—an ocean of sand hills of breathtaking magnitude. That’s just how the explorer Zebulon Pike described them in 1807: “Their appearance was exactly that of a sea in a storm (except as to color), not the least sign of vegetation existing thereon.”