Dunes Redemption

I've been fascinated by red aspen for a few years now--ever since i saw my first red clone out at Kebler Pass during my first fall photo trek in Colorado. They are like pink diamonds to me (or pearls ); rare and precious. A couple years ago I found a big grove of beet-red aspen a few miles off trail in the Sangre de Cristo range. I tried to photograph them last week, but after two hours of crawling over downed trees and up steep rugged terrain, I ran out of water and threw in the towel--I probably was within a couple hundred yards of my goal, but who knows.
So, I was a bit disappointed, and to console myself I took a trip to the Great Sand Dunes the other day. I wanted to get an angle on the dunes that had never been captured before, so I visualized looking down on the dunes at sunset, from one of the aspen groves high up on the slopes of the Sangres. That was my idea anyways, until I arrived at the park, and while I was scanning for a nice patch of (yellow) aspen to shoot from, something caught my eye. A solitary red aspen tree glowing in the early afternoon sun. I knew right away that was my subject. It looked like an easy bushwack from the road--but these things always look easy from below! I actually had to crawl through some dense brush and thorn bushes, then scramble down a deep ravine over rocks and sharp trees--one of which carved a nice gash in my leg. But blood wasn't squirting out, just dripping, so I persevered and made it to my prize.
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Redemption Dunes II

Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado

More of the red aspen at sunset
Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.

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Tough Place

Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado

Steep ravine gives an idea of the terrain the aspen were living in!
Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.

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Dunes Redemption

Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado

The rare red aspen stands in contrast to the dune field beyond.
Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.

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Dunes Redemption

Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado

More of the red aspen as sunset approaches
Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.

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Redemption Dunes III

Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado

A distant shower kicks up dust overt the San Luis Valley.
Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.

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Stop Light

Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado

Interesting trio of trees overlook the dunes.
Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.

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Yellow Dunes I

Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado

Cottonwood overlooks the dunes.
Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.

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Yellow Dunes II

Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado

Horizontal view of the fall colors, September 27, 2011.
Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.

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The Pearl Parbale

Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado

Lone red aspen at sunset. A single yellow flower looks on from the front row.
Photo © copyright by Stan Rose.

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