Monday, March 18, 2013

Great Sand Dunes: Winter

Last stop on my way out of Monte Vista actually involved a bit of a detour.  I have a hard time resisting the lure of a national park under any conditions, let alone ones as beautiful as this late winter morning. So after my sunrise shots south of town and a hearty breakfast back at the Monte Villa Inn I headed northeast to Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Little Bear Peak
I didn't even have to get to the park before seeing scenery that took my breath away, like this view of Little Bear Peak and Blanca Peak.

I normally like the effect of leading lines drawing your eye into a photograph.  But even with the snow-covered road providing that here, I think I still prefer the previous peak shot.

Once in the park it wasn't like the views dropped off, like this look at Mount Herard with the dunefield starting to rise to the left.

Great Sand Dunes with snow
The dunes themselves were even more magical than normal, the mix of dry sand, wet sand and snow combining to form truly unique patterns.

Great Sand Dunes with snow
Quite a few hardy souls had made the trek into the dunefield.  If I'd had more time, I might have joined them.

Great Sand Dunes with snow
Even with the fairly harsh midday light there was still plenty of texture in the landscape.

Horses in front of the Sangre de Cristos
In hindsight I wish I'd gotten down on my belly to make the horses more prominent in this scene.  But there was no easy way to tell what was under those few inches of fresh snow; and I didn't really need to smell like manure on the four-hour drive back to Denver.

A fantastic end to the weekend -- really the cherry on top of a terrific trip!

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