Tijeras Peak, Great Sand Dunes National Preserve
At 13,604 feet (4,146m), Tijeras Peak is the highest mountain in the park and preserve - but most visitors never notice it! It's hidden in a spectacular alpine basin northeast of the dunes, the watershed for Sand Creek. This wide-angle sunrise view with the moon was taken from Music Pass, primarily accessed from the east side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Tijeras Peak is also visible from the northern half of the San Luis Valley, but it's not as dramatic from the west, just a high point on a sharp ridge. The east sides of the Rocky Mountains are where the most snow collects, and where glaciers carved tall cliffs and lakebeds.
View a short video of a hike to Lower Sand Creek lake, at the base of Tijeras Peak, on our Hiking and Backpacking page:
Today I learned pugs can’t swim and that Ted Kaczynski is possibly related to the Tylenol cyanide murders in the 80s. Mind. Blown. Also this area has the most pictographs in all the San Luis valley. I only saw one Hopi wall art piece but it was a short hike. #sanluisvalley#colorado#penitentecanyon
I remember being in first grade and looking at my Sunday school teacher thinking, "I want to kiss her." It was an innocent thought, but I grew up always being attracted to women. I wouldn't say that my family was homophobic, but not open or accepting. So, I never really felt safe to explore my feelings growing up in Houston.
After I graduated high school and went to college for a year, I got married to a man when I was 20 and it was an epic failure for many reasons. We moved out to Colorado so I could play soccer for Adams State and the relationship fell apart shortly after. I met my first girlfriend here in Alamosa, and my mom knew I was dating someone, but she didn't know who. One day she said, "Tell me about him......... or her." She already knew. When I came out to my dad, he said, "You're my daughter. I love you and I'm proud of you." Ultimately, I met my wife. People always laugh when we say we met at the Purple Pig.
There really isn't an organized LGBTQ+ community here, but there is a community. It's changed from how it was 10 years ago and seems more socially accepted in the sense that I feel more comfortable holding hands while walking down the street. And while being gay is a part of my story, it's not the most important part of me. My love for recreation and being a role model for younger kids, especially those who are struggling to understand their gender or sexual identity, matter the most. I want to show them how to lead a good life and let them know, "It's okay to be you. Be who you are." Jes Jolly, her wife, and two dogs are residents of Alamosa. Jes spent a summer working with the Southwest Conservation Corp camping, clearing fallen deadwood from trails, and being a trail crew leader. She said it was a clarifying experience and solidified her desire to be in recreation. She works for Alamosa Parks and Recreation, loves knowing the people here, and being a part of a smaller community. Her friends and family call her a "rockstar." Interview and photo by @kimmarquezphotography
I was 22 years old and working at the old burger joint in Monte Vista. It was the same job I had since I was in high school, but woke up one morning and said, "This is not gonna be my life." I enrolled in classes at Adams State as an English major right after my shift that day.
I took all of the art classes that I could and made a lot of good friends. I used to think that in order to be a successful artist, I would have to move to a big city. But, that hasn't been the case at all. I had an opportunity to have my work featured in Three Barrel Brewery in Del Norte, and that has helped me build a consistent following! Now I'm a stay at home dad during the day and an artist by night. It works out really well for me and wife.
Lately, I've been sculpting, which is a new thing for me. I've been seeing a lot of mallards show up in my work and realized it probably has something to do with my grandpa. He had a huge collection of duck decoys and I used to play with them all the time. He was the first person in my life that looked at my work and said, "He's going places with his art!" Now whenever I see ducks in my work, I think it's my grandpa telling me to keep going.
Henry Blount, his wife, and two daughters are residents of Monte Vista and was adamant in saying that he is a dad first and an artist second. He loves spending time with family and is currently writing a graphic novel. You can see more of his work here: https://www.facebook.com/theblountcolor/. Photo and interview by @kimmarquezphotography
I came across this shortly after waking up, and feel like it put me in the right frame of mind for the day. I am often caught in the "nothing is good enough" mood. But my life is filled with beautiful good things! While life doesn't go to plan sometimes, I have all that I need, plus more!
Our mindset truly decides what our outlook on life is and today in am going to remember to have gratitude for whatever comes my way! =) #gratitude#livingwithjoy#latterdaysaint
"When I was a little girl, I remember my cousins were getting Nintendos for Christmas while my siblings and I were getting Barbies. They were wearing name brand stuff and we were wearing stuff from Wal-Mart. As I got older, I learned that if I wanted something I had to work for it. I started working in the potato fields when I was 15 just so I could afford to pay for all the gear I needed to play sports. You could say I grew up poor, but I never went without having everything I needed.
I experienced bullying in school before it was a thing like it is now. I got made fun of for being poor and being Hispanic. Everyone thought I was an illegal immigrant, but I wasn't. I was an American citizen. I was really good in sports, the MVP Player, and played varsity in basketball as a freshman. The kids would say things like, "You're a good swimmer. Let me check your back to see if it's still wet." They took my shirt and shorts during Regionals one time and I almost didn't get to play, wrote a letter to the administration saying I was selling drugs. I wasn't doing any of those things. I even wanted to quit the team but my mom told me to never quit, stand up for myself, and I eventually did.
When I graduated high school, I was on track to play basketball at Metro State, but I ended up getting pregnant. So, I stayed at home in Ft. Garland, went to cosmetology school, and worked out of my home for two years after I got my license. I eventually went to work out of a salon for myself building up a clientele that has far exceeded anything I could have hoped for. My husband and I are both business owners and we can give our kids so much more than what I grew up with. If there is anything I want to teach them, it's that you should never give up no matter what. Never treat ANYBODY badly. If someone is poor, doesn't have combed hair, can't have nice clothes, be kind to them anyway. Never make fun of them or their situation. Be friends with people who get made fun by others. Give back to those who have less than you." Christina Rodriguez, her husband, and their two daughters are residents of Alamosa. She does hair and nails at Tapered and Textured! w/ @xtinar34
Beautiful pink sunset and tender lighting as we left the crag yesterday. Grateful to call this place my home, backyard, and playground.
The San Luis Valley: "an extensive high-altitude depositional basin in the US state of Colorado with a small portion overlapping into New Mexico covering approximately 8,000 square miles and sitting at a average elevation of 7,664 feet above sea level. The valley is a section of the Rio Grande Rift and is drained to the south by the Rio Grande, which rises in the San Juan Mountains to the west of the valley and flows south into New Mexico." #colorado#manassa#sanluisvalley#fujix100s#climbing#landscape