Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Visiting Great Sand Dunes National Park

We spent the morning at the Great Sand Dunes National Park located near Alamosa, CO. This is an amazing place and you begin to get an idea of the scale of the place when you are still 14 miles away as we were when this first picture was taken. You can see the dunes at the bottom of the mountains and at first, you believe they must be foothills, but they are not.

Cody and I finally were able to welcome us to the National Park! This area is a very flat plain that is at about 8,000' in elevation and mountains all around rising to 13,000' or more. We learned that the dunes cover some 30 square miles and rise to a height of 750'! These are huge. Cody even found this interesting plaque which notes that the Dunes Park is at 8,166' above sea level.

Orinda and Cody are standing on a dry river bed (which flows in the spring) about 1/2 mile away from the nearest dune. The sand is very fine and easily blown. In fact, the rivers, one on each side of the dunes area, move the sand west during the spring and then the wind blows it back during the dry summer.

This was a great place to visit and well worth the morning we spent there.

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