What a difference a day makes! The day after our train ride was overcast, blustery and bitterly cold.
Time to get back on the road. But first, a visit to the Milagros Coffee House in Alamosa. We couldn't help but
notice that although Alamosa has a similar income level and population, its downtown is about three times the size of Silver City.
We drove in winds gusting to 50 mph all day. A ham radio buddy suggested we check out Zapata Falls on our way to Great Sand Dunes.
The waterfall is tucked into a narrow, twisting slot canyon.
It's about 30 feet tall, and thunderous!
It was a short hike with a remarkable ROI!
The mood at the dunes was decidedly dark and brooding!
A quick pano before the light went away.
The sun came out briefly after dinner, but the wind was still howling.
There would be no big hike in the dunes on this trip.
There are a half dozen peaks in the +13,000-foot range to the north and east of the park.
A morning hike to the Dunes Overlook.
We were fascinated by the golden foliage on trees with bark like a cottonwood, but
elongated leaves. And that's how we learned about Narrow-Leaf Cottonwoods!
Snow in the mountains! It was time to turn around and head south.
Colorful sunset near Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.
We wedged ourselves into the last spot at Big
Arsenic. It was too cold to hike down to the river, but the views were inspiring!
The overnight low was 23, with winds gusting to 35 mpg. It was a good night to tunnel under the sleeping bags and watch old movies to distract from the violent rocking.
On the way out of the park, we encountered a herd of a half dozen Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep!
They were unimpressed by us, and calmly continued grazing while we snapped dozens of photos.