Thursday, May 11, 2017

Road Trip to Alamosa, Colorado

On a cloudy day last August, I set out on a photo expedition with my photo buddies Barry and Alan up through northern New Mexico to Alamosa, Colorado, about 200 miles north of Corrales.  Our primary goal was to photograph the Great Sand Dunes National Park, which is northeast of Alamosa.  I'll provide images from the park in my next post.

Being photographers, however, we enjoy the journey as much as the destination because we will stop and shoot whenever anyone sees something they want to capture.

Our first stop was Ojo Caliente, a tiny village about halfway to Alamosa.   Its claim to fame is a first-class hot springs spa, which Linda and I visited in early 2016; you can read about it by clicking here.

But on this trip the attraction was the village cemetery.  Cemeteries in rural New Mexico are typically scrubby and stark -- not like the well-groomed cemeteries in more lush environments.  But they are always filled with beautiful grave decorations, showing that, as in other locales, they are active, living memorials to those laid to rest there.

Sometimes the decorations are simple . . .


. . . and sometimes they are elaborate.

After leaving Ojo Calilente, we drove north through the Carson National Forest on US 285 and emerged onto the Taos Plateau, a vast plain of basalt and alluvium between US 285 and NM 522 on the map below.

On the map and at ground level it looks like a whole lot of nothing, but from a geologic perspective it is one of the most dynamic and interesting areas on Earth.  You can read more about the geology by clicking here.

This is a view of the Taos Plateau from US 285 looking southeast.  Needless to say, we had some good summer storm cloud action going . . .

. . . and I happened to push the button at just the right moment to catch a bolt of lightning.

We stopped for a couple more roadside attractions.  An abandoned grocery store . . .

and a family shrine of some sort just south of Antonito, CO.

As we were photographing the shrine, we heard a train whistle and realized that we were only half a mile away from the eastern terminus of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad which runs between Antonito, CO, and Chama, NM.  (If you'd like to know more about the C&T, click here).  

The train was just pulling into the station, so we dashed over and grabbed some dramatic images of the magnificent Baldwin K-36 2-8-2 steam locomotive #484, built in 1925.  Right place at the right time!

After photographing the train, we continued to Alamosa and on to the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  As we approached, it was raining over toward the park, creating a beautiful cloud formation, but that didn't deter us.

 NEXT POST:  Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

If you would like to see these images in a larger format, please visit my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.


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