Borrego Springs, CA

Friday, October 16, 2009

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

I was up before dawn this morning, and anticipating my touring today.

Before I left, I took a picture of my site at Lathrop State Park. Notice the mountains surrounding the park.

This is one of the two lakes in the state park. When I arrived, yesterday, I met a man in the parking lot that had just caught three huge northern pike in the lake. The biggest one was over 32" and more than 12 pounds. I sure would have enjoyed catching any of the fish he had!
At 9:00, I hit the road to travel to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. I drove about 70 miles to get there and went over La Veta Pass at 9413'. I'm sure glad I was in the car rather than driving the rig over that pass.
As I entered the park, I stopped for the obligatory photo at the entrance. A couple from Germany was kind enough to take this shot for me. I offered to do the same for them, but the wife was apparently having a bad hair day, and they declined. :) This shot is about ten miles from the visitor's center. Notice the nice fall colors on the cottonwood trees. The sand dunes are in front of the mountains.

These pictures don't do justice to the dunes, which rise up to 750' before the Sangre de Cristo (blood of Christ) Mountains.

These sand dunes have been here for more than 12,000 years. The winds shift them daily, but they persist to stay here. Two creeks surround the dunes and help to keep them where they are at. Several species of insects live on the dunes, and no where else in the world.
When I visited here in the late '60's, this was a National Monument, but in 2004, the park was expanded and designated a National Park and Preserve by a vote of Congress. The park now includes the dunes, mountains, and wetlands. All these habitats are integral parts of the dunes ecosystem, and will now be preserved forever. What a good idea our National Parks are!

I took a parting shot as I left this magnificent area. Kind of makes you want to sing "This land is your land..."


Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

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