Click the pics of the dunes, I know I won't be returning soon, if you fall down during the sand dune races you will get sand In all of your places.
Sand Dunes National Park. This is the visitor center and offices of the Park, I wonder why it requires such a big building to take care of piles of sand? how much maintenance does sand require? I would think a couple of guys with a wheelbarrow and a shovel could handle the whole deal.
I had planned on driving into Monte Vista this morning to see if I could find some Cranes, but I woke up late and kind of tired from the driving I did yesterday to the Sand Dunes National Park and the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, that I decided to take the day off from driving and relax. I don't take these mini-vacations to set any world records, take as many pictures as humanly possible, or even stay busy doing interesting things. I'm just looking to have a good time enjoying myself and my hobby, even if that means spending time relaxing.
It also looks like tomorrow will be a tad warmer than the last few days but still chilly enough to bundle up early in the morning. And if I'm taking pictures of Sandhill Cranes, it will require a lot of standing outside in 40° weather. And with the humidity in the 50% range early in the morning makes 40° weather harder to take, especially for a desert rat like myself.
Monte Vista is always the most difficult place I visit to get a good picture of the Cranes. The Cranes usually feed in farmers' fields, so they're scattered all over the place, and the areas are pretty far away from where I can park to take a picture. So I take pictures of Cranes a couple of hundred yards away or when they accidentally fly by me where I'm parked, which doesn't happen very often.
On Monte Vista Road 15, three or four miles south of town, a couple of large paved pull-offs were built just for viewing the Cranes. The problem is there's no real reason for the cranes to be in the fields next to those pull-offs because there doesn't appear to be anything for them to eat there.
Springtime, usually around March, is when Monte Vista has the biggest influx of Cranes, and folks come from all over to view the Cranes and participate in the various Crane-related festivities that are taking place in town honoring the Cranes. And it wouldn't surprise me if, during that time when all the tourists are in town, the local farmers sprinkle enough seeds in the area of the pullovers so the visitors have easy viewing of the cranes that have been attracted to the free food.
I don't have this problem when visiting the Bosque Del Apache or Whitewater Draw. Because those places have large lakes that attract the Cranes for most of the day and all night, it's easy to park next to the lakes and see the Cranes almost anytime. However, viewing is more difficult in the Monte-vista wildlife area, which makes me truly appreciate any good pictures I can come away with.
I've never seen the sand dunes cold, wet, and cloudy before, It really did look different. For one thing there was only one person walking to the dunes, usually there's a hundred.
The whole area looked totally different, the creeping clouds looked more foreboding than friendly.
Okay, so it is a lot of sand. 500 feet tall, and goes on for miles.
Fall is coming to the Sand Dunes National Park.....but its not quite there yet.
I didn't get to see any Sandhill Cranes today, but I did get to see this gaggle of geese heading South.