"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Aliens & Sand & Storms

Hooper, Colorado
UFO Watchtower Campground

We found ourselves with a few extra days to fill before meeting back up with Dave & Diane so we decided to stay near The Great Sand Dunes National Park.  The weather was to continue with sun, rain, sun, wind, repeat for the next week.  Sometimes happening all at once. This seemed to change by the hour as well. 
 
Rainy, then sunny, then rainy again.  All in about 10 minutes.

 
While looking around for a place to camp, I came upon an interesting alternative.  It's called the UFO Watchtower and it has a campground.


 
 
There's plenty of room for any size RV.  They have about 10 sites that are decently spaced, with a few trees, a (spool) table and a firepit.  No hookups.  It's a good location though to the Sand Dunes and the town of Alamosa, CO which has plenty of shopping.  And besides, aliens are fun, right?


Here is the Watchtower.  We went up at night and while we didn't feel any vortexes or see aliens, the view of the stars without lights for miles, was incredible!

Hippy Big Foot?


At first it looks kind of like a bunch of garbage in he desert, but when you walk the paths and look at the little collections and displays, it's kind of neat.  Entertaining to say the least.
 
Steve always makes friends easily. (The answer to your question Greg, NO).

 
This display had hundreds of ball point pens.

And a swingset because, well, aliens like to have fun too.

 

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse!

Since we needed to get some groceries we decided to take a loop drive through some of these small desert towns and do some geocaching.  Above is the town of Mosca.  That's it.  Just a little store at a crossroads.  Some of the towns didn't even have that.  Just a sign marking their existence.

We loved this old school house way out on a back road that had a cache hidden out front. Built in 1911, the one room Mt. Pleasant School building served as the area’s only school until 1965. The predominant architectural feature on this building is its corner belfry/entrance with an unusual concave roof slope.

We wandered around Alamosa which was actually a very nice town.  You can tell it has grown a lot recently with several new buildings and box stores which no doubt serve the college kids well, but they have done a great job with the historic downtown.  Very quaint.  There was a lot of cars parked around getting ready for the weekend car show.   

On the way back home we decided to try for this interesting cache, even though it was dark out.  Amelia Earhart landed in this field when she got lost during a pre-flight preparation for her around-the-world-flight.  Ironic.  The cache was somewhat easy to find as the flashlight shined on it and made it stand out.

On our way to spend the day hiking the sand dunes, we could see something in the distance.
 
 
Acres of solar panels just outside of Hooper, CO.


Off we headed to The Great Sand Dunes for a day of great hiking.

 
You can see the dunes from miles away (the gray below the mountains).

 
These flowers lined the roads for miles and miles.



We looked forward to the Medano River that runs through the park so Hurley could have some water fun.  This time of year though, it is barely a trickle.  If you are here in spring/early summer when it is running deeper with the snowmelt, you can witness the "waves".  These happen when a shelf of sand builds up under the water and the currents cause them to collapse, creating surge waves like the ocean.

 
We had intentions of hiking to the top the 3 1/2 mile High Dune Trail.  The wind was so bad though by the time we made it across the river and the flats our legs were getting blasted and poor Hurley had sand in his eyes and could barely see or walk because he kept sneezing and shaking his head.  Besides bees, I hate wind.  HATE WIND! So I really didn't want to finish the hike.  (you won't hear me say that often!) We turned back and after we got the sand out of our eyes, ears and everywhere else, we decided to switch our hike to Zapata Falls.  Poor Hurley, I had to pour water over his face to get the sand out of his eyes. 


 
It's an amazing site to see, but I wasn't all that impressed after being to White Sand Dunes.



 
It was still windy up in the mountains, but no sandblasting!  Hurley enjoys playing in the rivers too.  There was a geocache hidden near the falls also with a cool geocoin inside.

 
After the hike we drove south to head over the border of New Mexico.

 
There was a cache hidden at this small, but nice Veterans Memorial.
 
 



 
The temperature dropped sharply and we knew another storm was coming so we stopped at the cute town of San Luis for some coffee.  San Luis was settled in 1851 and is the oldest town in Colorado.

CafĂ© Rosa Mystica is eclectic inside and out.  Meredith, the owner, has been here almost 20 years.  Excellent coffee and homebaked goodies.

San Luis, Colorado


Colorful murals around town.  Too bad they park their county vehicles in front of it.
 

 
Very near the boarder we came upon some of the wild horses that live in this area.  On the way back when it was dark, we almost hit some them.  They are as bad as deer.  They jump right in front of you and you can't see them until it's too late.



 
As we drove in to New Mexico it was strange that the storm line seemed to stay on one side of the highway.  Look left, sunny.  Look right, very stormy.

 
More cemeteries to cache at.  Hispanic cemeteries always leave lots of decorations on their loved ones graves.  We stopped by a few cemeteries and dodged most of the rain.

Back in to Colorado to grab a couple more caches as the sun is going down quickly.


Old abandoned mud homes scattered about made for very depressing towns.  There were sage, weeds and cactus growing on the old rooftops. 
 
One the drive back the most beautiful rainbow appeared.  The sky was very black except for this one spotlight of sun shining down, illuminating one hill.  I have never seen colors so bright against such a black sky.  We pulled over and just watched it for several minutes.


 
It was followed by a wildly colored sunset.



 
We're glad we decided to come down this way.
Tomorrow we head back up into the mountains to Creede.
 

14 comments:

  1. Beautiful rainbow and sky shots! Were you the only ones in the campground?

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    1. 1/2 the time it was almost full, the other days there was just a couple of us. Not all that much to do in that area.

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  2. Gorgeous sunset and that rainbow picture....incredible!!

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    1. Cori I have never seen a rainbow look like that one! Thanks.

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  3. Spectacular rainbow and sunset! You got to love nature at it's best.

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  4. I love that last sunset. The colors are amazing.

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  5. If you need any tin foil tips to protect yourself from aliens, let us know.

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  6. Getting caught up with you guys - finally! As happens a lot - I've added a few new places to our list! LOVE the sunset pics!

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    1. Thanks Kelly. We miss Colorado already! And those 6 months were only spent in the Southwest. In my opinion, the best with the less people!

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  7. What a great few days. Loved the UFO area and as always your pictures were spectacular. Miss you guys

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    1. I think you would've like it! Miss you guys too. See you in Q!

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