WE like to dispatch a team of photographers around the San Luis Valley for one day with very few plans. We want to see what we see, to capture the routine of daily life through different sets of unique eyes behind the camera lens.
It’s our second time doing it, and we call it a Day in the Life of the San Luis Valley.
We find that it lets us see the collective soul of the place, if just on a single day. From dusk to dawn we witness the diverse nature of our landscapes, the spectacular nature of the morning and evening suns, and meet the people who are spread out across the Valley living their daily lives.
For this second Day in the Life, we set out early on Monday, Aug.1. We found ourselves along the Old Spanish Trail as far southeast as Chama (CO, not NM), and also up around Del Norte, and in Sanford and Antonito and beyond. Seven photographers traveled throughout the six counties. We’re grateful for the photographers who lent a skillful eye: C.Claire Lara, Amy Kucera, Owen Woods, Madeleine Ahlborn, Linda Relyea, and a guy we call Mr. Lopez.
5:30 AM: Before the sun rises, Alamosa USPS clerk Art White and delivery contractor Jeff Pearson are ready to load and sort mail. | C.Claire Lara
5:42 AM: (top photo) Stillness and quietness of the morning reflected in the beautiful animals that live in the pastures beyond. | clopez
5:45 AM: Sheep on 108 North have their breakfast. | C.Claire Lara
6:04 AM: Open this time of year to the public, the Higel State Wildlife Area yields some of the most breathtaking views filled with the early morning sounds of an assortment of birds and a moo here and there from the cows that lie in the grass. | clopez
6:42 AM: City of Alamosa employee George McAlear heads out to a job.| C.Claire Lara
6:46 AM: As the sun rises in the east, the morning begins to take shape. | clopez
6:49 AM: Art “The Barber” Velasquez prepares for the day at his shop in Downtown Alamosa. | C.Claire Lara
7:25 and 7:30 AM: (left) Adams state employee Joe Maestas heads out to work.
Adams state women’s soccer team practices. | C.Claire Lara
7:30 AM: Jimmy and Greg Higel just before Jim does his morning water check on the Higel Ranch west of the city of Alamosa. The Higel Family has been ranching and farming on the property for more than 120 years. | clopez
7:45 AM: Busy morning along Highway 160 West as Rod Porco mans his road construction traffic control post. | clopez
9:10-9:12 AM: Jose sells peaches and Ezekiel sells melons in La Jara off HWY 285;
both men also can be found at the Alamosa Farmers’ Market and in Monte Vista on occasion. | Madeleine Ahlborn
9:20 AM: Care and Share volunteers gather every first Monday of the month to pass out 150 boxes of food. | Madeleine Ahlborn
9:45 AM: Conejos courthouse lobby, waiting for people to come in.| Madeleine Ahlborn
10:00 AM: Eric Berghorn and Doug Gower stopped for a quick photograph to mark the occasion as they headed into the Great Sand Dunes National Park. | clopez
10:12 AM: Mark works the counter at the Red Rock General Store, the market along Highway 160 in Blanca. | clopez
10:30 AM: The new week saw landscaping crews continuing their work on the new Sierra Grande football field. Here, two of the workers stand up what would be the north goal post at the new stadium.
10:38 AM: Since we found the landscaping crews on site we figured we might as well check out the new school building when we found Superintendent Kevin Jones outside also watching the football field come together. We got him to pose with some of the front office staff: Luna Millions, left, Kevin Jones, DeAnn Arellano, Tammy Mizokami and Maria Atencio. | clopez
11:10 AM: Rebecca and Theresa work in the back of the new and growing San Luis Peoples Market. The market is part of a comprehensive healthy foods movement spearheaded by The Acequia Institute in San Luis and Devon Pena and Shirley Romero-Otero. | clopez
11:23 AM: Follow the Old Spanish Trail and you’ll run into the town of Chama just four miles or so around the bend from San Luis. Beautiful southern skies hang over the Chama Cemetery. | clopez
11:30 AM: Michelle Kreps Richardson is a 23-year volunteer at the Jack Dempsey Museum in Manassa, which is only open for about 3 months out of the year. Michelle, who is also a writer and poet, loves to share stories about the strength and kindness Dempsey conveyed throughout his life. | Madeleine Ahlborn
11:35 AM: Late morning walk for Bubba and his horses which he says he’s yet to name. Bubba has a beautiful spread in Chama and we enjoyed meeting him. | clopez
11:40 AM: Doug Anderson and his sons, Elijah and Benaiah, help their friend, Chuck, hitch his trailer to a pickup truck in Chama. | clopez
12:53 PM: Sanford Country Store, also known as Scottie’s, lays claim to being home to the BEST cheeseburger in the Valley – and yes, they do serve fries now. | Madeleine Ahlborn
1:00 PM: Jayden and Kenzley Goforth play at Friends Park | C.Claire Lara
1:43 PM: Goats in a field at 8S and about 2E head for lunch. | Amy Kucera
2:00 PM: Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge; facing northeast | Amy Kucera
2:20-2:40 PM: City of Monte Vista employees.
top left: Michelle Jardon, financial clerk, left and Gigi Dennis, city manager; in Gigi’s office appreciating National Colorado Day.
top right: Lorena Gallegos, deputy clerk (left), and Unita Vance, city clerk, hold a map of Monte Vista.
bottom left: Chief of Police George Dingfelder chats with resident Margot Alexander.
bottom right: Rob Vance, director of Public Works, city of Monte Vista | Amy Kucera
3:00 PM: Frankie is a five-year volunteer at the Sanford Museum and leader in the Conejos Writer Circle. | Madeleine Ahlborn
3:00 PM: Top Value manager Bertha Gutierrez, left, and cashier Maria Estrada work at the Monte Vista store. | Amy Kucera
3:20 PM: Afternoon group at Kids Connection, a licensed child care facility, during a “ZEN” (Zero Extra Noise) session | Amy Kucera
3:30 PM: Mason Larsen cuts sirloin steaks at Valley Meat Market in Alamosa.
| C.Claire Lara
4:00-4:03 PM: At the CSU SLV Research Center Agricultural Experiment Station.
left: Zach Czarnecki talks about carmelina, an experimental low water crop.
right: Jeff Davidson, assistant manager, and Mireya Ortega, intern, count weeds.
| Linda Relyea
4:17 PM: Joseph Villanueva fixes tires at the Gunbarrel Station. | Linda Relyea
4:15 and 4:30 PM: Victor, a city of Monte Vista Public Works employee, takes care of the grounds at Fullenwider Park. Bernadette Torres arranges flowers in the back room of her shop at Torres Floral Design | Amy Kucera
4:35 PM: Royce Nickel bales his second cutting of alfalfa hay. | Linda Relyea
4:47 PM: Center High School Football Head Coach Rodney Mondragon times sprints for Jesus Valadez, a junior. | Linda Relyea
4:59 PM: Anita Aguilar waters her garden in Center. | Linda Relyea
5:51 PM: Juan Santiago rolls out dough for sopapillas at Leonardo’s Restaurant in Center | Linda Relyea
6:32 PM: Jerry and Eve Braden enjoy an evening meal at the Oasis in Saguache. | Linda Relyea
7:30 PM: A view of the San Juan mountains as seen from Skeff Nature Trail in Monte Vista.| Amy Kucera
7:30 PM: Packed on a Monday night, John and Pam Bricker’s Three Barrel Brewing Co. in Del Norte draws Valley residents and tourists alike for pizza and craft beer. | clopez
7:45 PM: A family walks their dogs at Chapman Park in Monte Vista. | Amy Kucera
7:54 PM: Sunset over the San Juans seen from above the Rio Grande’s Oxbow Loops.
| Owen Woods
8:00 PM: Acacia Nadeau, a second-grade teacher at Alamosa Elementary, chases the sunset with her kids | C.Claire Lara
8:04 and 8:17 PM: Anastazio Gallegos, Cason Mueller and Micah Jaramillo riding skateboards along Murphy Drive in Alamosa.
Ella and Eli Mathias play a pick-up game of basketball with neighbors Fonsito, Athena, and Jiraiya, as the sun sets on Diamond Drive in Alamosa. | Linda Relyea
8:20 PM: Cars arrive at Star Drive In theater in Monte Vista. | Amy Kucera
7:57 PM: A rainbow stretches across the Valley floor with the Blanca massif in the background. | Owen Woods
A small favor:
Alamosa Citizen is committed to informing and engaging the people of the San Luis Valley. Unlike many other sites, the Citizen makes its journalism available to everyone to read, regardless of what they can afford to pay. We do this because we believed informed citizens create better communities.
If you like what you’ve seen and heard so far, please become an AlamosaCitizen.com member. We have no out-of-town shareholders or billionaire owners. Your membership makes our reporting possible, and keeps it free for all to access. Your support will make all the difference.