Blog 97: Snowy Hikes and Mountain Vistas
ContentsRearview Mirror - Summary of the past week
Headlights - Our schedule as to where we will be heading
Note: click on any photo for a larger image/slideshow)
Within 20 yards of our campsite at Chatfield State Park was an owl nest occupied by a momma Great Horned Owl and her two owlets. We could hear her hoots most early mornings.
On Sunday we traveled back to the Colorado Horse Park and set up camp. Early Monday morning, Jan and the Kids drove me to the Denver airport where I flew to Canada for work. My engagement went very well and I got back to Denver late Wednesday night.
San Luis Lake State Park
Thursday, after I conducted a webinar from BERT, Jan drove us to San Luis State Park in the San Luis Valley, just ten miles west of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It was like we had the campground to ourselves--the busiest night of our stay had only four other campsites filled! From our site, 7,500 feet of elevation in the high desert, we had awesome views of both the Sangre de Christo Mountains to the east and San Juan Mountains in the west.
Friday: Dunes and Birds
Great Sand Dune National Park
We started the day by scoping things out, first stopping at the first-class visitor center at the Park to help us plan our priorities. We had visited here three years ago and this is one of our favorite places.
Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge
We drove to the town of Alamaso, and after stopping at their visitor center and having a very nice Mexican lunch at Ninos, we drove to the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge. Here we had a great time enjoying the marshes and lakes full of a variety of birds with the handsome mountains serving as a background. The evening brought the much-wanted sounds of a constant rain that soaked into the parched desert.
Saturday: Snowy Hike and Stormy Birds
Leaving the Kids to guard the coach, Jan and I headed out early driving back to the Dunes and up to the Mosca Pass Trailhead. We were the first ones at the trail and almost the first ones into the park. (Lots of slackers sleeping in, I guess. :,>)
Within a quarter mile, our topography changed, and a soft, white, and wet visitor joined us and stayed along as a companion throughout our upward journey. The snow added a strong visual contrast to the greens and blues of the surroundings and highlighted the occasional reds of a blooming prickly pear cactus. The senses were further heightened audibly with the constant gurgling of the creek that bordered the trail, spiked with a birdcall every now and then. In addition, the intense fresh smell of the forest after rain and snow added a feeling of newness as we ascended above 9,500 feet. Wonderful hike.
From the trailhead, we drove down to Medano Creek to try and get a few pics while the light was still soft. We walked along and through the rushing water (only ankle deep) admiring the landscape and enjoying the families with kids and pups playing in the water or hiking up the dunes.
Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge
Next, we drove back to Alamosa and had breakfast-lunch at a local diner. From here we took the back roads to the Monte Vista area, spending time exploring the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge (associated with the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge we visited the day before). What a perfect day for finding/watching/photographing birds--a big storm was brewing in the mountains so all the birds were out in the air, swimming, flitting, and flying around, all alert to the possible dangers of the weather.
Wow, what a week!
May 14: Navajo State Park
May 15-24: Alpen Rose RV Park, Durango, CO
May 25-31: Blue Spruce Campground Vallacito, CO
June 1-17: Ridgway? Montrose? Gunnison? Crested Butte?
June 18-22: Chatfield State Park, Littleton, CO
June 24-27: Cheyenne Mt. State Park, Colorado Springs
June 28 on: ???
See you next week.