Saturday, November 29, 2008

Great Sand Dunes

Lisa and I decided to head south to the Great Sand Dunes National Park today. We have really been wanting to see the dunes, but haven't gotten around to doing it. After all of Lisa's family left today, we packed up the kids and took a little road trip. The above picture is what it looks like in the summer. As we approached the Park on the highway, we were treated with a white delight that was quite different from what we expected.

The sand dunes were all covered with a couple inches of snow from the storms that had passed through the last couple of days. They looked amazing in white with the big mountains in the back drop.

This one is the tallest sand dune in North America. It is 750' tall. You can hike to the top of it, but we knew the kids would never make it.

Instead of hiking to the top, we went to the visitors center and let them run around and play with all the interactive stuff.

They were in heaven.

After the visitors center, we went out to the dunes and let them run around and throw snow balls.
Again, they were in heaven playing out there.

Once the kids had their full, we decided to leave. On the way out we kept running across different groups of deer. After forgetting my telephoto lens the other day in Garden of the Gods, I made sure to tote it along this time. I'm so glad I did too because we saw several large bucks (though none as large as the one I saw at Garden of the Gods).

This nice buck was milling around in some distant trees, so I left Lisa and the kids in the car and ran off after him. After sneaking up fairly closely, I got this picture of him.

He refused to turn broadside for the photo, so I whistled to get him to stop. He did stop, but the camera wouldn't focus on him, and I ended up taking a few terrible, blurred photos. So I didn't get any good broadsides of him. After attempting to get the camera in focus, he took off like a bolt of lightning and I got this cool action photo of him in mid-leap.

Feeling bad for not getting any good side views in focus, I thought I was going to go home bummed again. But my fortune was turning for the better. After driving further down the highway, I spotted another nice buck laying down in some trees. Again I left Lisa and the kids in the car to go stalk this bad boy down.

Here is the shot I took through the trees.

As I got closer, the does that were with him spooked and he got up and started to walk away. At this time I got a decent broadside view of him.

I was really happy with the photos I took of him, and didn't think the day could get any better. I called my dad to tell him of the bucks I was seeing, and as I was on the phone with him, we came across another group of about 4 bucks. I told him I would call him back, and I went off to stalk them for some more photos.

This is a straight shot of a 3 point that was eyeballing me the whole time.

Lucky for me his big 4 point buddy didn't mind me being there and allowed me to take this winner of a shot. Pretty dang cool.

I love my camera, and I love my stalking skills. Too bad I couldn't hunt these guys. Oh well, maybe some time in the future.

In all it was a beautiful day. The Sangre de Cristo mountains and the Spanish Peaks were so scenic it made the drive down very pleasant. We really enjoyed the dunes and recommend it to anyone who lives in Colorado.


Nate and Lori said...

Awesome Pictures! WE love our camera too and are glad that you are enjoying the telephoto lens. I can't believe all of the fun outdoorsy things that you guys do. It seems like each weekend you are on a new adventure. Some day...I guess...

Tiffany said...

Man, I miss the mountains! Hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving.

Carter Family said...

Desert muleys give me goose bumps. Those deer are so much more attractive than white tail deer. I shot a whitetail this week though. Just a doe. I am still waiting for the slobberknocker. Man next year me, you, hunting, awesome, muleys, huge, dead, sweet!!!

Russell said...

Cool pictures, looks like you had a great time. Probably a good think you couldn't hunt one of those deer as they probably all have Chronic Wasting Disease and the last thing you need is something ELSE wrong with your brain!! LOL Awsome pics tough really.

Karen, Mackay, Easton & Kallie said...

apparently bambi's daddy is living up by my parent's house if you feel like getting a good one to mount above your mom was saying the thing was huge...6 or 8 on each antler or something like fun!

expensive cameras pay off...nice pics.

Kent said...

Your pictures make me homesick. I grew up in the San Luis Valley and we went to the Sand Dunes every spring.

If you want close ups of deer, we have them in our yard all of the time. I think one of our neighbors must feed them.

Would you mind giving me a call, Cody? I have an offer for you.