photography from the ground up

Posts tagged “Great Sand Dunes

The Great Sand Dunes

The Great San Dunes National Park in southern Colorado is one of those places that take you by surprise, at least it did me. All of the images I had seen of the place did not prepare me for the actual experience. You begin to see the dunes from quite a distance, and they grow ever larger as you draw closer.

Road-To-The-Dunes

With the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as a backdrop, the visual contrast is immediately evident. The rugged peaks of the range make the dunes appear soft and sensual.

Great-Sand-Dunes

But the contrasts don’t stop there. The interface of the sand dunes with the surrounding ecosystems teem with biodiversity. There is sage, and there are ponderosa pines. There is a perennial stream (Medano Creek) which serves to return the sand which is blown off the dunes and into the mountains back to the base of the dune field. And, of course there is an abundance of wildlife, from the small to the large, insects and prairie dogs to deer and mountain lions.

The-Edge-Of-The-Dunes

Then there are the dunes themselves which tower as high as six hundred and fifty feet above the valley floor. It is an almost surreal scene; imagine part of the Sahara Desert dropped into the middle of the Rocky Mountains.

The-Dunes

As you move from one zone to the next, it is a subtle thing. The ecosystems are feathered into one another so there is no definite boundary, but from certain perspectives, the change can seem abrupt.