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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Great Sand Dunes and Zapata Falls

Reid and I decided to be tourist yesterday and headed for the Great Sand Dunes (they're about thirty miles east and north of Alamosa). We got there about 12:30 (the hottest part of the day). Though the air was only about 80, the sand on the dunes can reach 140. And as we had Tater, we did not actually climb the dunes. Instead we walked along the creek bed at the bottom of the dunes known as Medano Creek (there is only flowing water a few months of the year). Despite there being no flowing water the sand was cool to the touch and Tater enjoyed the walk very much. The dunes are breathtakingly beautiful and such a bizarre natural phenomenon. We bought a year pass, so we will be going back when it is cooler to climb them.

(Reid and Tater in the "creek")
On our way back from the Dunes, we stopped at Zapata Falls. It is an intense three mile climb... for the car :) The road up to the Falls is pretty steep and a lot of switch backs, because the falls lie in the foothills of Mt. Blanca (the mountain at the end of the Sangre de Cristo range, and the second highest peak in Colorado). Once you get to the parking lot it is only about a half mile climb up to the stream that is fed by the falls.

(This is the path... a bit rocky but if you take it slow it's not too bad. Tater laid down at one point to drink his water!)

(This is the stream... the temperature drops ten to fifteen degrees near the stream!)

Then you have to wade through the stream into what appears to be a small crack in the rock face.

(This is the small crack)

You turn the corner once you're in the canyon (which is only about ten feet across) and the noise is amazing, the force of the water barrling down the rock behind really intense. It was so beautiful and unfortunately, with the amount of water spray in the air, our little camera didn't do it justice. I think it is one of those things that has to be seen (and the cold mountain water felt) to truly appreciate.

(Us with the base of the waterfall behind us)

Tater was exceptional for the whole thing, forging the water as we asked him to (though there were a few times we picked him up because the water was so cold and at points a little deep for him). We walked back to our car with a renewed vigor in our steps, the cold water and beautiful sight of the waterfall fresh in our minds. Ahhh... it's good to be a tourist!

(We met some very nice tourist from Buffalo, NY on the way back down the mountain who took our picture and then we took theirs)


Dad said...

It is nice to be a tourist at home so times. Especially at a new home.

mom said...

Glad you had such a good time!! And that Tater wasn't scared of the noise of the falls!!
Love You

amy said...

Yay for being a tourist! It's my favorite part of moving. I LOVE the part of the country you're in right now - Utah/western Colorado might be my favorite place to visit. It looks like you guys had a great time!

Jamie said...

Way to be "outdoorsy", I will start making a list of things I want to do when I come and visit!

Stephanie said...

Wow - now you know first hand why I love the west!! What you are describing is what I grew up in! Pretty spoiled, eh? Glad you are having fun!

Becky said...

Those pictures are beautiful!