Tuesday, September 19, 2023

T-Dubing around the Medano-Zapata Ranch Conservancy

Not much got done yesterday, Monday.  I did do some riding at the Great Sand Dunes NP after a decent sunrise:

As I'm waiting on Martha's arrival to tackle the sand dunes, I didn't do any dune climbing/hiking.  The light was very flat too so no further pics of the dunes for Monday:

The weather turned overcast and windy soon after lunch and I spent the rest of the day sheltering in the VRRV.  I did have a visitor to my campsite:

As the sun went down, I watched a lightning storm approach from the west.  It was quite the spectacle, the video below doesn't really do it justice.  Note: The video is a compilation of captured lightning strikes, pasted together without the pauses in between.

Today, I decided to explore what the map said was Medano Road and it seemed to lead one closer to the western end of the Great Sand Dunes NP.  

This morning dawned with fog covering everything including the nearby peaks:

Hoping for some better distance pictures of the sand dunes and the Sangre de Cristo Peaks I went there after breakfast. 

Medano Road led instead to the Medano-Zapata Ranch which is a conservancy owned and operated by Colorado Outdoors.  At first, thinking it was private property, I just rode a trail paralleling the fence line hoping to spot some Bison.

I did spot a small herd but they were pretty far away:

Can you spot the lone Bison?

Returning to the ranch's main gate, I realized it was chained but not with a lock.  I read the signs and realized one is allowed inside since it's a conservancy:

Riding along the road, I spotted a couple of Bison to the right.  I parked Yagi and walked a bit closer but not too close.

When I started Yagi's engine again, the Bison decided to leave the area away from the noise.

I continued inward and found a collection of dilapidated wood buildings, methinks its remnants of the ranch:

Further on, there was the Medano Ranch and some wooden buildings in slightly better shape but I don't think they're in use:

I decided that was enough exploring for the day, it was past lunch so I returned back to camp for burger and fries.

The afternoon was cloudy but somewhat sunny, I relaxed around the campsite, listening to an audio book.  The weather once again turned overcast and windy for a bit in the late afternoon.  Fortunately, the winds died down for the sunset and we got a pretty good after-sunset show:

Update: September 20.  I was mistaken in thinking an unlocked gate into a Nature Conservancy meant it was providing public access; unlike such gates to BLM land.

You're supposed to have a Conservancy employee/guide with you.  Oh well.


SonjaM said...

Yagi in the sunset... the bike is on fire. Awesome shots, Dom! Cheers, SonjaM

redlegsrides said...

Danke again, SonjaM, though some post- processing was involved as usual.