I have been fascinated by the Sangre de Cristo range (named by Spanish explorer Antonio Valverde y Cosio “Blood of Christ” mountains after being impressed by the reddish hue of the snowy peaks at sunrise, alpenglow) since we first saw them a few years ago during a trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The range averages 14k feet and extends 75 miles long east to west. It’s the dominant feature in the San Luis Valley. The size of the range, the name, and the somewhat obscurity of it is fascinating. Be forewarned I have a lot of pictures of the range. They are not good pictures as the range is faint. I encourage you to see it in person. The fall would be a perfect time to go!
About the ride…it was an easy flat and fast ride to Del Norte. We were on the highway for the first 12 miles then on gravel county roads for the bulk and the last 7 to town back on the highway.
The well maintained county gravel roads were through farm land. We learned that the San Luis Valley in CO has the highest production of potatoes in the U.S.. They need someone to market that. “Rocky Mtn Potatoes”, “Get High on CO Potatoes”, or “CO potatoes to fuel your adventure” are a few tag lines we could think of. In any case we rode vast through potato fields. We saw many birds of prey Hawks of some sort hunting near the irrigation ditches along the way. As we neared the Hawks they would fly out of the irrigation ditch and we could see their white and brown underbelly and hear them call out. Yellow sunflowers (?) Lined the road ways as if it were early spring. Farmers were entertained by us on bikers waving and smiling as we passed. Storm clouds holding off at bay until the late afternoon we hoped and is it turned out correct. It was a good day on the Divide!