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High Plains Drifter


disclaimer:  "The meteorological views/forecast thinking expressed are those solely of the author of this blog
and do not necessarily represent those of official National Weather Service forecast products,
therefore read and enjoy at your own risk and edification!"

March 7, 2009

Moab Trip 2009 — Feb 21 (Day 6)

Filed under: Moab Trip 2009,Photography — Mike U @ 12:27 pm

The final day of my Utah-Colorado 2009 trip was spent at Great Sand Dunes National Park.  This was my first visit to this park, and ironically is the closest National Park to southwestern Kansas.  The dunes here are something else… the tallest in North America.  One dune in particular, called "High Dune", stands some 650 feet tall from the base of the dunes.  This dune is only like three quarters of a mile from the large parking lot (the main parking area at Great Sand Dunes).  I took all my photography gear with me for this climb up.  It wasn’t as easy as I thought it might be, meandering up sand dune ridge lines to get to the summit of High Dune.  Since I was by myself, I had to take the tripod so I could get a pic of myself at the top.  Of course, I chose to do this at the wrong time of day, photographically speaking, with a high sun angle and very limited shadows.  Hiking down sand is like stealing candy from a baby, LOL — about a hundred thousand times easier than going up and far easier than hiking down a mountainous trail.  So after that, I decided to hike this 4WD Jeep road that parallels a creek (Medano Creek) adjacent to the dunes.  I only went about 1.75 miles north on this "trail".  It was really a rutted road that was filled with old crusty snow in many places.  The creek was frozen over which provided for some cool photography.  I walked onto the ice for some compositions as it was quite thick.  I backtracked along Medano Creek as it became increasingly unfrozen and narrow as the waters of the creek eventually seep into the porous sand.  It was kinda cool to watch the creek essentially disappear into the sand about a mile north of the big parking lot.  I got some pretty interesting photos of this.  By late afternoon, the light was getting better with longer shadows on the sand making for better photography.  This was the extent of my first visit to Great Sand Dunes.  That evening, I headed back into Alamosa to find the power out over most of the town (mainly downtown area), which pissed me off because I wanted some Mexican food at this supposed real popular mexican restaurant in downtown.  I had to settle for some fast food on the outskirts of town where the power wasn’t out.  Images of Great Sand Dunes below!

Here I am on top of High Dune:

 

A look at High Dune from afar, do you see the people in the photo below?  

 

A frozen Medano Creek adjacent to tall sand dunes:

 

Medano Creek and sand dunes:

 

Late afternoon light and shadows on the dunes:

 

Late afternoon light on the dunes with Medano Creek on the right:

 

There I am again..

 

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