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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Last of the Trilogy: Mysteries of Great Sand Dunes National Park

      This is the third and final post on Great Sand Dunes National Park in south-central Colorado for this autumn. If you have not already read the first two posts, please read Part 1 and Part 2 first.

      A few mysteries about these 750 foot tall dunes, the tallest in North America, remain. What are these circular sand markings?




     [For scale, the notebook is about 4 inches by 2.75 inches.] Any ideas?

     Why did the National Park Service remove the road access through private land and Liberty Parking area from the northwest part of the official map? [I discovered the difference when writing notes on the map to send to my mom for our spring trip.]



       The map on the left was picked up directly from the GSD Visitor Center while the one on the right I picked up at the Nature Conservancy's Zapata Ranch. Hmmmm. Thoughts?

        I am most curious to trek to that northwest parking area to see the mysterious crater for myself:




(See also Part 2 of the GSD Trilogy for a discussion of the possible crater origins and comparison to similar erosional cirque features in Israel.)



     Not a mystery: the wonderful wheelchair dune buggies available at the Visitor Center for accessing the dunes



      and the Sawmill Canyon Backcountry Campsite along the Medano Creek Road which is expressly for providing a back country experience to those who use wheelchairs.



      The accommodations  have prompted a visit in November by a friend who needs the wheelchair dune buggy to fully experience the dunes.

       And lastly, Maizie is digging in the dunes link below.  Is she hot, looking for water, looking for gold or. . .What is it Maizie?

    Here's the last Great Sand Dunes images (well, at least until the spring. . .).





Here's hoping your National Park adventures are full of mystery and intrique.

Steph
  

50 comments:

  1. > What are these circular sand markings?

    Ants? Zen garden? Zen gardening ants?

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    Replies
    1. Zen gardening ants--I like it!

      BTW, where is your friend planning to hike after his October Denver conference?

      My friend is backpacking in the San Juans on the west side of the San Luis Valley. They had significant snow there through the night, as did the Sangre de Cristos east of the dunes.

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    2. > What are these circular sand markings?
      jan is close with his Zen gardening ants hypothesis. But I am positive those are droppings from Martian mice. They are also known, of course, as… crap circles.

      LegoGolDungMartianMice!

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    3. As I said, Mars looks like Utah.

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    4. Or Utah looks like Mars. . .;-)

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    5. I think Mars dried up first.

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    6. Rene Zellweger, eh? Following in Hedy Lamarr's footsteps, is she?

      Interesting that the Army Rangers and Marines are concerned about the lethality of sex-integrated combat units. Maybe they should be considering survivability instead?

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    7. Rene (male) vs RenΓ©e (female) Zellweger. I suspect he gets that a lot.

      As to your second point, I sure would be more concerned about survivability!

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  2. And speaking of cool scenery, are you in Utah yet, David?

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  3. Replies
    1. Sorry, but neither 50 seconds nor 130 seconds is anywhere near enough to get through The New Yorker.

      Reminds me of my favorite rejection letter of all time: "Thank you for your submission. I am sitting in the smallest room in my house with your manuscript in front of me. Soon, it will be behind me."

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  4. Storm in mountains closed I-70 for hours today. πŸ—»πŸ—»πŸ—»πŸ—»πŸ—»πŸ—»πŸ—»πŸ—»πŸ—»

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    Replies
    1. Hmm, those were mountain and snow icons . . .

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    2. That's exactly what I was thinking about in Utah, when standing at the bottom of a cliff with big random boulders all around. Like, did they come down this morning, or 100 years ago?

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    3. Or 1,000 or 10,000 years ago. Strange sensation, isn't it?

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    4. A stunning reminder that anything that ever happened, happened sometime.

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  5. In other public radio news, I heard this again on Selected Shorts last night, and thought some here might appreciate it.

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    Replies
    1. The whole was fabulous, jan, and I especially enjoyed Anna Mata Pia!

      Thanks.

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    2. It mystifies me how Mr. Meehan omitted Amy Camus (Albert's great aunt) from his dreamy guest list.
      Invert:
      .....A
      CAMUS
      .....Y

      and get:
      .....Y
      SUMAC
      .....A

      LegoMeehanAlsoOverlookedOprahAndUma!

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    3. I've always believed that one of Letterman's writers must have read Meehan's story, which has been performed in various forms.

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    4. Yes, I realize that when Mr. Meehan recorded his YMA dream, Oprah was 8 and Uma was -8.

      LegoPapaOomaOprahUmaMauMau

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  6. Replies
    1. Back at all PEOTSers!

      We dissected owl pellets today, finding skeletons, teeth, and fur of voles and mice. Yummy?!

      Might one whip up a mole of vole mole?!

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    2. The "Yummy" was meant to go after the "mole of vole mole."

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    3. I always celebrate Mole Day by buying a bushel of avogadros and whipping up some guacaMOLE!

      LegoButSeemsIAlwaysNeedToBurrowAFewLimesFromMyNextDoorNeighbor

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    4. "Is that a mole on your face?" could have many interesting interpretations.

      Personally, I like a chocolate mole, but in my mouth not on my face. . .

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    5. Mole? Wart? Close enough.

      LegoSendingHisApologyForTastelessDermatology"Humor"

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    6. Hey Lego, great Candy clip.

      And no worries, most dermatology humor is either tasty or tasteful as dermatologists are (sk)in deep. . .

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  7. Cassini dives into Enceladus plume tomorrow.

    Took the opportunity to read up on Cassini on Wikipedia. What an amazing project!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, quite amazing. Thanks for posting, jan.

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  8. New post on "Columnar Joints: No, NOT in Colorado but in Svartifoss, Devil's Tower, and Giant's Causeway" is up now!

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