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The Sand Dunes


8/22/10, San Luis Valley, CO - The past week as been busy and fun. It included a lot of projects around the ranch, a unique trip to the drive-in theater and a fantastic horseback ride in the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

During the week, I stayed busy around the place with some projects.  Chief amongst them was the hitching rail that Doc is tied to in the picture below.  I also built a pen for ‘Buddy’ the lamb, and a bunch of other stuff.

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Maggie, sitting on Doc before we tried to load him in the trailer. We found out that the 6’3” high trailer doesn’t work too good for horses that are 6 foot at the shoulder.  Before we truck the big boys around, we’ll have to come up with a 7 foot high trailer.

Friday night we went to the drive-in theater in Monte Vista. I haven’t been to one in 30 years, so it was a real treat. Hannah and one of the 4-H lambs (that didn’t sell) have gotten really close, so we decided to bring him along to the movie. Of course, it helps when Aunt Judy owns the drive-in. Buddy acted better throughout the movie than most kids. He laid down next to Hannah, who was sitting in a lawn chair and enjoyed the film.


Buddy and the girls, getting ready for the feature presentation.

We were suppose to go camping on the Conejos River this weekend, but unfortunately, Melissa had to work Saturday. So as an alternative, we loaded up the trailer Sunday with some saddle horses and drove about 30 miles to the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  The park is a really great place, that is way underused by the public. It also happens to be one of the nicest places that I’ve ever ridden horseback in.

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As we set off down the trail, Maggie was up double with her mom on Little Man.  Hannah rode Freckles, while I was on Pete.

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About 5 miles into the ride, we stopped and had a picnic lunch.  After lunch, Hannah and I couldn’t resist the temptation of climbing a dune.  Of course, running down is the really fun part!

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There’s a nice creek that flows out of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains at the base of the dunes.  While Hannah and I were braving the desert wastelands, Maggie played in the creek and Melissa relaxed at the picnic table.

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Now fully corrupted to my errant ways, the girls don’t have to be prodded to splash around barefoot in a mountain stream.  This is a really unique park.  There are about 50 square miles of sand dunes, that rise to 750 feet above the valley floor. Two nice streams flow through the park.  The lofty Sangre De Cristo Mountains provide a lot of alpine terrain. There’s even lakes and ponds within the park.  But, if you’re not a hiker or on horseback, you need a four wheel drive with low air pressure in the tires to get around.

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Melissa and Maggie, on our way back to the truck.

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The Wagonteamster, trying out as an extra for the next Hildago movie.  Perhaps I’m “Traveling through the desert on a horse with no name”.  Whatever, I’m having a great time.