This is where I went yesterday. The driving tour is a one-way loop that is several miles long. And the walking path follows the Rio Grande River and seemingly goes on forever. But you have to back-track to return to your car.
Not much was going on today, mostly just relaxing and figuring out my next move. One thing I have figured out for sure is I need to be back in Denver by Thursday because there's a cold front coming through, and nighttime temperatures are supposed to get down into the 20s. And since the Arctic Fox hasn't been winterized and the heaters off, I'm afraid my pipes will freeze and break. So I need to get back by at least Thursday night. And, "lucky me, " it looks like there's gonna be a pretty good chance of snow Sunday and Monday.
Last night I took a few more pictures of the Milky Way, and I'm getting a little better at it. But I found out it takes some expensive equipment to get great images of the Milky Way. Taking good pictures of the stars is a whole different hobby than just taking snapshots as I do. So I'm not into it enough to spend money on the project, I'll have to practice with the equipment I have, knowing there is a practical limit to how good my pictures will ever be.
I could hear the Sandhill Cranes squawking as they flew a couple of hundred feet overhead, going to their roost around here somewhere last night while I was outside. But it's too dark to take a picture. I can't believe they get home that late, their worse than a teenager on a Friday night. Sometimes I can hear them flying overhead in the morning while I'm in bed, and it's still dark outside. I can't believe they get up that early, totally unlike a teenager on a Saturday morning.
So what appears to be happening is it's too dark to take pictures of the cranes while there roosting here at the San Luis Lakes wildlife refuge. And I have no idea where they go to feed in the daytime, but apparently, it's not in the Alamosa wildlife refuge. I'm thinking of trying the Montevista area because there's a wildlife refuge there too.
I would sure hate to be outsmarted and skunked by a bunch of tall skinny birds, so I haven't given up yet. But this upcoming cold weather did put a hard and fast limit on how long I'll be able to go mano a mano with these crafty Cranes before I have to return home and live forever with the agony of defeat.
The very nice visitor center at the wildlife refuge, which probably would've been extremely helpful if they had been open, but they were closed for the Bat flu.
There are several kinds of watercourses in the refuge which is what makes it such a great place for wildlife. This is the Rio Grande River which winds through the refuge, and makes the whole thing possible.
You can see the walking trail on the left of the Rio Grande. I don't know how far it goes but people have been walking along rivers since the beginning of time so it probably goes quite a ways in one form or another.
This is an irrigation ditch, you can see the driving road on the left side. There are also several much smaller ditches in the area, and all are good for wildlife in the relatively dry San Luis Valley.
But most of the water is in swampy areas like this. It's been really dry so the swampy areas are rather small. If you're in the South and you see areas like this you start thinking about Alligators. But unfortunately around here Gators are few and far between, which takes all the fun out of being in a swamp.
Whitetail deer poking his head out of the Cattails. By the look of his broken antlers, he fought many a battle during the rut.