The Citizen just turned two. To celebrate, we dispatched a team of photographers to capture a typical Day in the Life of the San Luis Valley. It is our third photo shoot in the Day in the Life series since Alamosa Citizen launched in August 2021. Our aim as an internet-based publication is to provide a fresh perspective on our home in Colorado’s unique and isolated high mountain desert. We find the beauty of the environment and the people of the Valley a perfect reflection for the world to see.

Our gratitude to Ry and Amy, John and Dennis, Linda and Eva, Claire, Maddy and Owen who spent their day on Friday, Aug. 25, traveling the county roads from Mesita to Creede and visiting the main streets of the towns that make up the San Luis Valley. Hay season leading into other late-summer harvests; farmers markets; unmatched beauty; locals who together create a rainbow of diversity; a Friday evening rain.

We hope you enjoy the photo essay.

Chris and MaryAnne

sunrise reflected off still water
Credit: Dennis Schoenfelder

6 AM | Alamosa: Sunrise at Blanca Vista Park. 

Early morning, looking down on small main street with a few buildings illuminated
Credit: CLopez

6 AM | San Luis: Early-morning lights as the town awakens.

dark blue sky with small line of yellow at sunrise with dark water and trees
Credit: Ryan Scavo/Big River Collective

6:05 AM | Monte Vista: The Ditch along Sherman Lake parallels the Rio Grande and Wildlife Refuge lands.

Credit: CLopez

6:20 AM |  San Luis:  An early morning walk up the iconic Stations of the Cross leads to both cardio and spiritual exercise.

Credit: Ryan Scavo/Big River Collective

6:21 AM | Sargent/Monte Vista: An irrigated field off CR2E.

6:30 AM | Monte Vista: Kneading out the dough at Worth the Drive Bakery, and the finished product: Freshly glazed donuts. On average the bakery makes 56 dozen donuts a day. Credit: C.Claire Lara.

Woman with gray hair and glasses, wearing a bright green sweater, fills a coffee machine
Credit: CLopez

6:40 AM | San Luis: Kathleen Aragon brews the morning coffee in preparation for customers entering the San Luis Coffee Company.

Bright red baler fillled with stray with blue sky behind
Credit: Ryan Scavo/Big River Collective

6:43 AM | Monte Vista: Hay baling equipment waits for the the morning shift.

golden field of cut hay with dark blue early morning sky
Credit: Ryan Scavo/Big River Collective

7:03 AM | Sargent: Fields turn gold with the sweetest scent in the air shortly after sunrise.

cloudy blue sky over crumbling buildings with green Mesita road sign
Credit: CLopez

7:50 AM | Mesita: The turn to the old village of Mesita in Costilla County will lead you to Lobatos Bridge and on to Conejos County. These are some of the oldest backroads of Colorado, where herds of antelope still roam.

8:30 AM | Rio Grande County: Workers perform maintenance on equipment at Mitchell Farms on N CR 5E. Credit: Amy Kucera.

9:07 AM | Monte Vista: Visitors can’t help but smile when they meet the animals at San Luis Valley Farm. Credit: Ryan Scavo/Big River Collective

woman in green and white trucker cap arranges sunfloers
Credit: Ryan Scavo/Big River Collective

9:15 AM | Monte Vista: Owner Victoria Gonzales harvests cut flowers in the San Luis Valley Farm greenhouse.

woman with white hair kneels in flower bed, works with trowel

9:40 AM | Monte Vista: Volunteer Margot Alexander tends the city’s flower beds.
Credit: Amy Kucera

Man and woman, each riding a power mower, both wearing hats and sunglasses
Credit: clopez

9:45 AM | Manassa: Valden and Shela during their morning mowing in Manassa. The couple takes care of lawns in five different communities, including neighboring La Jara and Sanford.

closeup: Grain pours from machinery
Credit: Ryan Scavo/Big River Collective

9:49 AM | Monte Vista: A truck unloads barley at Rio Grande Seed & Grain.

10:15 AM | Monte Vista: workers Mathew and Miguel.

mural shows old train, fields
Credit: Amy Kucera

10 AM | Monte Vista:  Mural on Highway 160 and Adams Street, in the back of the Fassett Building.

Green tractor in a hay field, with bale of hay in foreground
Credit: Ryan Scavo/Big River Collective

10:27 AM | Monte Vista: Baling hay

10:30 AM | Monte Vista: Haydn Christensen, owner of The Farm Stand, grows and picks produce to sell to the community. A little man helps out the family by washing turnips. Credit: Amy Kucera and C.Claire Lara.

Man in black tshirt and black cap holds brown dachshund
Credit: Ryan Scavo/Big River Collective

10:39 AM | Monte Vista: Billy (with Lilly) takes a break after driving his semi from Ft Worth, TX, to Proximity Malt. It was Billy’s first time back in the Valley in two decades.

red hay baler with yellow trim
Credit: Ryan Scavo/Big River Collective

10:43 AM | Monte Vista: More hay baling, this time in a field across from the Sherman Lake Veterans Museum. It’s that time of year.

10:57 AM | Home Lake: Dean, a Vietnam War veteran and purple heart recipient, rides his tricycle around the grounds at Home Lake Veterans Living center. He moved to the Valley from Steamboat Springs in early August to find easier access to the healthcare he needs due to his exposure to Agent Orange. Credit: Ryan Scavo/Big River Collective

A person takes a cell phone photo of two people in silly hats
Credit: Madeleine Ahlborn

11 AM | Del Norte: Gary entertains some frequent customers at the General Specific Store – Tony who is taking a break from his work at a bank, and Katie before she heads to work at the Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center. 

people in an inflated raft float down a river
Credit: John McEvoy

11:04 AM | South Fork recreation, part 1: Fishing from a raft on the Rio Grande near the bridge over Hwy 149.

a family pedals a rail bike along railroad tracks with an old passenger rail car parked in the background.
Credit: John McEvoy

11:06 AM | South Fork recreation, part 2: Rail bike riders make their way toward Creede after departing from the hub in South Fork.

Woman in white tshirt, yellow apron and camo baseball cap mixes pink frosting in a clear glass bowl.

11:20 AM | Mosca: Angelica, owner and operator of PreFuel and The Ruby Rose, prepares fresh food for the day. Credit: C.Claire Lara

A man sits behind a table at an outdoor market, selling wood crafts
Credit: Madeleine Ahlborn

12:30 PM | South Fork:  Perry and his wife, Bev, live in La Jara but travel to South Fork for the Summer Market to sell Perry’s works. Perry has been practicing his woodworking craft for six years. 

A brown horse stands next to the fence and road, surrounded by wild sunflowers
Credit: Eva Lopez

12:30 PM | Rio Grande County: A friendly horse poses perfectly amid the sunflowers.

Looking up from the ground at yellow flowers against a blue sky and clouds
Credit: Eva Lopez

12:45 PM | Rio Grande County: A flowering field of yellow is bright against the midday sky. 

Shoppers in the rain in a historic downtown

12:56 PM | Creede: A heavy downpour doesn’t faze visitors to downtown Creede. Image made shooting through the windshield. Credit: John McEvoy

A man in a white tshirt and straw hat walks in a garden with sunflowers and other plants
Credit: C.Claire Lara

1:15 PM | Alamosa: Mark Lara, owner of Lara’s Soft Spoken Catering, works in his garden.

two young girls play on a bright purple jungle gym

1:51 PM | Alamosa: Olivia and Nalah take advantage of the 4-day school week at Boys & Girls Clubs Park. Credit: C.Claire Lara

3:30 PM | Alamosa: As clouds gather, Brookshire goes fishing while his dad hangs out with the dog at Blanca Vista Park. Credit: Dennis Schoenfelder

A young woman in jeans, an orange tank top and dangling daisy earrings sits in a red hammock, reading a book
Credit: Dennis Schoenfelder

2 PM | Alamosa: Melena Vanderford sets up her hammock so she can settle in and read.

Hay bales stacked n a field
Credit: Linda Relyea

4:43 PM | Conejos County: Haystacks stand illuminated against incoming storm clouds.

A large abstract painting at left, with a man and woman to the right
Credit: Madeleine Ahlborn

5:30 PM | Alamosa: Recently retired art professor Gene Schilling and his wife, Mary, laugh and reconnect with past students at his Retrospective Exhibition at Clyde Snook Gallery at Adams State University. 

Credit: Linda Relyea

5:34 PM | Conejos County: Rushing home ahead of the storm.

A red barn with mountains in the background
Credit: John McEvoy

6:25 PM | Del Norte: A barn located north of Del Norte and east of Kent Rominger Airport. Remnants of the Summer Coon volcano are visible in the distance.

A happy boy in a bright blue puffer jacket, holding fishing gear
Credit: Owen Woods

6:55 PM | Alamosa: Aaron “The Weatherman” Woods at the State Avenue bridge boat ramp. He’s always happy to fish, rain or shine, even if he doesn’t catch one.

A man stands on the threshold of a trailer home shaped like a narrow gauge train engine
Credit: John McEvoy

6:57 PM | Del Norte Hwy 112: Loud cussing comes from from inside. Clifton Brown of South Fork, emerges, upset that the State Patrol had flagged his railroad-themed mini home and given him 48 hours to remove it. There had been a problem with the axel on Thursday, and he had been forced to pull over and detach it from his vehicle. He said he needed to order parts and there was no way he could fix and remove it in 48 hours.

peering through the dugout at a familiy playing softball
Credit: Owen Woods

7:17 PM | Alamosa: Family softball at Cole Park Baseball Field, as seen through the dugout.

Distance shot of high school football game played under lights

7:55 PM | Alamosa: It’s Friday night lights as the Mean Moose take on Pueblo Central. Credit C.Claire Lara

8:04 PM | Alamosa: Grantley and Amy at the Pridefest kick off party at Spare Keg Brewerks, where there’s no such thing as an overpour. Credit: Owen Woods

Nighttime shot of downtown, with car lights whizzing by illuminated Colorado Grille restaurant
Credit: John McEvoy

8:05 PM | Del Norte: Colorado Grill, downtown. A slow shutter speed of 1/20th of second captures the tail light streaks of passing vehicles.

Special thanks to our photographers on this project:

Madeleine Ahlborn
John McEvoy
Amy Kucera
C.Claire Lara
Chris Lopez
Eva Lopez
Linda Relyea
Ryan Michelle Scavo
Dennis Schoenfelder
Owen Woods