A Traveler's Blog

Do you want to visit Alamosa like you know a local?  Here is your chance!  Enjoy the following feature articles written by a traveler enjoying some hidden (and not so hidden) treasures around the San Luis Valley. 

12 Hours of Penitence Rides Again

The mountain bike trails in Penitente Canyon are intense, beautiful, unforgiving, joyous and full of pleasures and perils for riders who are intermediate level to off the scale crazy, skilled and phenomenal. High praises to all riders who take these trails on for serious fun and adventure. Oh, and for a good cause too.

So... Attention all mountain bikers who need a supreme riding challenge fix on Saturday October 8 in the very place to which I have just made reference!

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Presto Pesto!

The bounty of harvest season allows, for those of us who like to play in the kitchen, or those who want to learn the skills of cooking, to become mad food scientists! Eating fresh garden vegetables are about the nutrition they provide, the flavors we can ignite within them, while preparation allows for us to cook vegetables in ways that are magically wonderful. Like any other science experiment, creating new flavors involves trial and error. Requirements? Come to the kitchen with a few basic skills, a willing to learn, and not be afraid!

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Wheeler Geologic Area Pyroclastic Breccia!

At a time when birthdays come with mixed feelings, I decided to visit a place where things were older than me. Way older! The Wheeler Geologic Area foot the bill by 26 - 40 million years. And I learned a new term - Pyroclastic breccia! So, my birthday was good!

The area is not easily accessible but if a day trip to a unique place fits into your adventure schedule then your experience to the WGA will be memorable.

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Poncha Pass Pondering

Having driven over Poncha Pass many times, I often wondered why I had never gotten off the beaten asphalt path of Highway 285, and stopped for a hike or a run. One explanation is that there are no brown Forest Service Access signs inviting me, and all of us, into the San Isabel National Forest! I pulled off at the gravel road a few hundred yards on the San Luis Valley side of the summit last Spring and though it looks like there were once information signs for the access road and the Poncha Pass Loop as it is called, they are no longer there. I parked and started running up the road but ran into mud, ice and deep snow, and though entertaining, I had to abort the mission that day after about a mile...

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A Potpourri of Pleasures in the SLV

Rumor has it, with 2016 being the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, that Great Sand Dunes National Park is busy. The sand dunes have plenty of room for people and dogs, yes, even dogs are welcome, but the infrastructure of parking lots, campgrounds, and other facilities are beyond capacity. Go, and enjoy, but... If the desire strikes to get far from the crowds, there are other places in the San Luis Valley that offer unique and wonderful views, experiences, and fuel our adventurous internal fires. My brother and I are of the same mindset when we set out on a new trail or even a regular 'go to' trail because we always see something new. The same awaits you and your traveling companions in other parts of the SLV.

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Boyd Community Garden

Cruising through Alamosa on the main highways in the San Luis Valley will not yield finding a special community garden a few blocks from US 160, south on State Ave to 11th Street. All visitors and locals are invited to stop by the Boyd Community Garden and pull a weed or many, and pick a handful or two of their favorite fresh veggies and fruit in season. Garden therapy, highly recommended by gardeners everywhere, is a way to appreciate the love plants give us when watered and nurtured as if they were a part of the family - because they are! Eat well, live weller!

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Del Norte Trail Showcase


Scientists, by our nature, are always on the quest to discover something, not always for money and fame, or to support an ego, but to better humankind, or like me, for fun! By running with a number of elite runners at the Del Norte Trail Showcase I believe I have theoretically discovered a new human gene, not yet mapped by the Human Genome Project.

Ever wonder how humans that are fast on mountain bikes or in their running shoes get fast? Short of pharmaceutical enhancement, as most cheaters are now getting caught, what makes some athletes faster than the rest of us? Continue for my incredible theory, sure to put me in the scientific annals of 2016 and revered by history! But first, a few easy science notes in physics, math and biology.

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May Day Play Day in Canyon De Penitente

The title rhymes if Penitente is pronounced in Spanish with the 'e's being long 'a's as in English. Fun with words and languages. Unlike the mountains surrounding the San Luis Valley, as well as the Great Sand Dunes, Penitente Canyon hides from view until you are actually in it. One of its charms!

On the first Saturday of May, a dry heave hurricane was blowing in from the Southwest as I drove north on Highway 285 heading north from Monte Vista. Several tumbleweeds 'attacked' my car at high speeds as they were doing what they do best in high winds, tumble! One hit my car door and exploded and the other got lodged in my grill. All part of the fun when driving in the spring! This is how tumbleweeds spread their seeds.

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Journey to the Oldest Town in Colorado

My uncle, in describing his family's visit to the Holy Land a few years ago, said, "It's like seeing the bible in 3D!" In three dimensions of course, as they toured many of the places from the scriptures. Made sense, though my mental picture of Easter and the Resurrection was in Sunday School, Easter Holiday celebrations, pictures, paintings, and the many artistic versions of the film industry making movies about the life of Christ.

On what would have been my dad's 88th birthday, I was able to make the visit to San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado dating to 1851, and make my own pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Stations of the Cross. Settled by the Spanish, early residents of San Luis battled the high desert mountain climate, Native Americans (sadly), and other obstacles to establish this community on the western side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

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