I hope that everyone in their parks and anyone else reading this blog is having an enjoyable summer so far. These past two weeks have been a little mellow in terms of projects, so I have been doing more evening programs with visitors and had my biggest group thanks to the holiday weekend. Last night I had 76 people join me on my Sunset Stroll program, where I give a talk on the geology, plants, and animals in the park. I had never led a group that large, but think that it went well and now I know that I can be responsible for a large group.
A little more exciting than that was the field trip I had to the backcountry part of the park, the part that’s not normally accessible to the public and is shared with White Sands Missile Range. There I got to see the lake bed of Lake Lucero, the lowest point in Great Sand Dunes National Monument, where the selenite crystals form from the evaporation of water that has gypsum dissolved in it. I also got to see tracks from animals that wandered there back in the Ice Age, like mammoths and dire wolves. Imagining these enormous creatures walking around where I was standing was pretty awe-inducing. I also saw the largest dunes in the monument, that really dwarfed me in comparison to the ones up in the frontcountry.
This week we also have the second Full Moon Night program, where two rangers are going to come and combine storytelling about parks with music. The last Full Moon Night was busy so I’m expecting this one to also be busy, but fun.