Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm Not in Kansas Anymore!

Tuesday, May 10th - - It never crossed my mind that I'd spend nearly six days in Kansas, much less enjoy most of it! Crossing over into southeastern Colorado the countryside looked much the same as it had in western Kansas. Fields were under cultivation to begin with but as I ventured further south and west there were more vast expanses of prairie.

However, within a few hours, the view changed dramatically. Mountain peaks touched with a dusting of snow could be seen off in the distance. It wasn't long before they loomed much larger and closer. With the change in view came a dramatic change in daytime temperature – from a high in the upper 90s to a high in the mid 50s. Thank goodness that, unlike the air conditioner, the heater in the van works!

West of Walsenburg, Colorado on U.S. Highway 160/285.

My destination for the night was the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, near Alamosa. I had visited there once before, way back in May of 1979.

This time, Mother Nature was definitely not cooperating with me. The further west I traveled, the cloudier it got. Once at The Dunes, the sun would occasionally peek out from behind the clouds, but even then the lighting wasn't that great. This is the view from my campsite. The base of The Dunes is about a mile and a half distant.

The image above and those following have been modified. I was going to say “enhanced” but that is entirely dependent upon who is viewing the images. Since you aren't going to see the originals, suffice to say that I think these are an improvement over the originals, considering the lighting conditions at the time.

Human figures add a little perspective on the size of these dunes. They (The Dunes) truly are magnificent.

And from what I remember from back in 1979, they are extremely difficult to walk on. I did go out to the base of The Dunes but simply did not have the energy or stamina to go any further. Besides, it was getting late in the evening, a strong wind was blowing, and it was cold!

The quality of light was pitiful, and it was nearly gone, but the views were still awesome even though they can't truly be captured by the camera.

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