Alpenglow on Dunes and Crestone Peaks
The name of these mountains - 'Sangre de Cristo' ('Blood of Christ') - originated from some of the earliest settlers here, who observed hues of red that can appear on landforms as the sun sets through atmospheric haze in this vast valley. With much of Colorado experiencing intermittent smoke from various wildfires, these colors often become even more rich and deep.
The firefighters currently battling these blazes are in our thoughts and prayers. In the days ahead, a hurricane currently in the Baja peninsula is forecast to move north and bring much-needed rain to the southwest. As it always does in nature, beauty will rise from the ashes. Eventually, huge groves of aspen trees will grow where these fires have occurred, part of the natural fire cycle that has gone on for millennia. This has already occurred at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, where aspens and countless other plants have taken over areas cleared by two large wildfires in 2000 and 2010.
Currently there is only light haze from distant fires. Check the park's webcam for visibility if you plan to visit: