Monday, August 27, 2012

Sand Dune (National Park and the Pool)

Looking  across from the parking lot at Zapata Falls towards the Great Sand Dunes.  

I thought this was a survey marker at first, but found it was a plaque with some neat etchings/carvings about the area.

It's only a 1/4 mile trail down to the falls, but to get to the trailhead it was 4 miles of the worst washboard road I've ever been on.

You have to walk upstream and peek around the corner to see the falls.  No paths, you either wade through the water or climb the rocks.  I wasn't prepared for either, so I guess to see the falls, I'll just have to come back another time.

On the downstream side was this metal man-made dam.  It was designed to divert the water into a pipe.

Not sure where the water was going, but after the diversion, the creekbed was almost dry.

Just down the road from the falls was the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  It was designated a National Monument in 1932, but in 2000 they added more land and made it a National Park.  It is only 3500 acres, very small compared to many other sand dunes, but unusual where it butts up against the mountains.

It's about 1/2 mile out to the dunes themselves.  Lots of people were out walking.  If you expand this picture they look like little specks.  I walked out the start of the dunes, but this is not the pristine, white, fine sand like Alamagordo, instead, it is brown rough sand with some grass patches mixed in.

But no denying the beauty of the sand dunes with the mountains in the background.

Between where I was staying and the sand dunes was a large array of solar panels.  So large in fact, they even move with the sun.  All brought to you by SunEdison.

Even though I've been doing a lot of hot springs lately, Deanne had made a wonderful deal with the Sand Dunes Pool.  We could dry camp in their parking lot and use their hot springs pool, all for an incredible price.  So I took adavantage and stayed two days.  

This was our parking area, right next to several ponds.

About a block away was the pool.  One end was partially covered and  the main pool was kept around 98 degrees.  In the back corner was a smaller pool which was the therapy pool, kept at 106 degrees.

The pool was large, with two diving boards.  There was even a slide back behind the pool, going down to the picnic area.  I hated to leave, but after two days I was waterlogged.  Now it's on to South Fork and Creede.


Anonymous said...

What fun!! Wish I was there!!


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