• Driving to Raton, New Mexico via a Texas Wind Farm and Capulin Volcano
I made a point to find the location of a wind farm I saw growing over the years, at White Deer, Texas. I was able to enter and photograph the wind farm.
By 4:30 I was at Capulin Volcano National Monument, which I hiked. The site was familiar from the 1999 visit, but the light was entirely different due to a huge thunderstorm that had just passed through.
• Great Sand Dunes National Monument
I arrived at Great Sand Dunes National Monument by mid-morning and hiked the Point of No Return trail, Mosca Pass trail, and Sand Pit trail.
I also hiked to the top of High Dune, which is difficult because the sand itself is so loose. I was more alone the higher I went; I didn’t see anyone at the top. The sand was blowing fiercely on the dune peak.
I ended up in Alamosa, Colorado, for the night, as sandy as I have ever been.
• Black Canyon of the Gunnison
The drive north from Alamosa was fun but made few pictures. There were lots of hairpin turns and alpine scenery that made the drive challenging and entertaining.
I was at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park by 1 pm. At the north rim ranger station, I had to change the date on their stamp because no one had used it.
While reserving a camp site, I found I had my pick of all 13.
I hiked the 3.5-mile North Vista Trail to Green Mountain, which offers excellent views of the entire canyon. In the four hours up and down, I never saw anyone else.
There was no cell phone service in the canyon, but I got it suddenly from up high. I called my fiancée Abby and told her I couldn’t call later.
I slept well in my nearly-private camp site.
• Colorado National Monument and I-70 Through the Rockies
Up before dawn, I broke camp and drove to Colorado National Monument.
I found unrelenting heat, fair light and some very interesting popcorn thunderstorms that made good pictures. I hiked a few short trails.
• Air Force Academy Chapel and Garden of the Gods
I slept until 7 am in Denver, then headed south. In Colorado Springs, I saw a sign for the Air Force Academy, where I stopped and shot their very beautiful chapel.
Also in Colorado Springs, I hiked around Garden of the Gods for about an hour. It was crowded, but not bad for a city park.
I slipped over the mountains for a peek at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, which wasn’t very interesting or very photogenic.
I shot several more images on the rest of my drive to Amarillo.