Beyond Telluride: San Luis Valley Clouds

IMG_1933 Telluride folks travel to a wide variety of destinations, and much of that travel takes place in Telluride's slower seasons, early Spring and late Fall. TIO is no exception. But this Spring we decided to see some parts of Colorado we haven't spent enough time in.

We have been at our second home in Denver for about a week, with an overnight visit to the Buddhist retreat, Tara Mandala, outside Pagosa Springs. We drove back to Denver Friday afternoon, by way of the San Luis Valley. North of Saguache, CO, we encountered this cloud formation over the Sangre de Cristo range. As a pilot, I am fascinated by weather, and Kimm Viebrock got her college degree in meteorology and is also a pilot, so I called her to enthuse over what I was seeing. She confirmed what I suspected: there was a low pressure system in south-central Texas, which was conveying moist Gulf air over the Colorado Front Range, and the strong easterly winds were driving that air over the mountains, condensing the moisture as it rose across the windward side of the range, which then flowed in a wave down the canyons on the leeward side. A natural explanation for an intrinsically beautiful scene.

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