Alamosa, CO The cool thing about being in a valley like we are is that we can be back in the mountains again quickly (Sangres de Cristo range). Zapata Falls is a secluded 25-foot waterfall sheltered in a rocky crevasse just above 9,000’. We hiked to it through scrub pine and lots of rocks. It was very different terrain than we had been in previously. We hiked back down and headed to Great Sand Dunes National Park less than 5 miles away. Amazing how two such different climes can be so close to each other. The Dunes are the tallest sand dunes in North America. Most sand dunes move over time but these do not. There are several streams flowing on the perimeter of the dunes. The streams erode the edge of the dune field, and sand is carried downstream. The water disappears into the ground, depositing sand on the surface. Winds pick up the deposits of sand, and blow them up onto the dune field once again. This constant movement of sand by wind and water help to preserve the Great Sand Dunes. The Great Sand Dunes include many high dunes. We climbed the one named High Dune which rises 650’ up from the parking lot. Walking in deep sand is very, very, very challenging! So is walking straight up! A number of foolish people climbed up some of the dunes simply so they could slide down on sandboards. It is not easy to stay on those things and we saw many wipe-outs. It did look like fun though unless, of course, it is summer time when the sand reaches temperatures of 150° F.