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Today, we left Santa Fe and headed north for the last leg of our journey. We drove along the fairly scenic, though not spectacular (when compared to other vistas that we e enjoyed on this trip, High Road to Taos. 

Arriving in Ranchos de Taos, we attempted to visit the San Francisco de Assisi Mission Church, but there was a funeral going on that we didn’t want to crash. So, we drove on to the Harwood Museum in Taos that was featuring a show about Mable Dodge Luhan, a patron of the arts predominately associated with Taos. 

Overall, we found her life and associations with artists to be more interesting than the art on display itself. Of course, neither Libby nor I are especially fond of the American modernist period. We did enjoy the Agnes Martin (one of our favorite artists and another painter based in Taos) works from their permanent collection on display:

I would have liked to explore Tao more, but we were afraid of getting rained out at Great Sand Dunes NP later in the day. So, we picked up lunch to eat on the road and headed north to Colorado with dark skies and rain in our rear view mirror. 

About two hours later, we arrived at GSDNP. From afar, I have to say that the dunes didn’t look that imposing:

But, as you get closer to them, you realize just how massive they are. Unlike other parks with designated trails, you can climb all over the sand dunes in whatever direction you wish. That said, they are quite the slog to climb given that you’re going uphill (a rise of nearly 700 ft), in sand (obviously) and at this altitude (from about 8,000 ft at the base of the dune). 

This photo gives a bit of perspective from one of the ridges. Note the people in the “valley” below us:

With the approaching rain and darking skies, we also cut our hike on the dunes short (a wise decision as the rain reached us just as we were driving a couple of miles south). 

Since it was only a little after 3pm, we would have ordinarily driven further in the day. However, I already had our hotel booked in nearby Alamosa and couldn’t cancel this late without a fee. So, we checked into the Fairfield Inn and opted to just relax this evening by catching an early movie (Finding Dory) at a tiny, old-school (for us) movie theater next to our hotel and then had dinner at the Chili’s nearby. I felt like an Almasoa local out for a big night on the town! :-)

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