While most of the world quarantined, I adventure; braving the pandemic, drive, and inaccessibility to food, to visit Colorado in June 2020. One trip led me to visit the beautiful Zapata Falls located in Mosca, Colorado.
Mosca, Colorado is located in Alamosa County in southern Colorado, roughly mid-state. It sits at an elevation of 7,559′ above sea level. For comparison, Denver, the mile-high city, is situated at 5,280′.
You will find little in the way of entertainment in this sleepy Rocky mountain pass, but you will discover nature opportunities galore. The main attraction is the Great Sand Dunes National Park, located on Highway 150.
It is worth stopping three miles south of the entrance to the National Park for this family-friendly hike up to Zapata Falls. The hardest part about this excursion is not the hike itself but the car ride to get there. Once leaving the main road, there is a 3.5-mile brutal, gravel pitted car ride to reach the parking lot and trailhead. We found ample parking and restrooms available. Both the hike and parking are free.
The hike itself is a .8-mile one-way hike, made up of flat dirt with some rocky terrain and an exquisite view of the San Luis Valley and the Great Sand Dunes. Surprisingly, the trail was full of people. As we neared the end, the roar of the waterfall grew louder. We kept trekking through ankle and knee-deep water. Crawling over, on top, and around slippery rocks and crowds of people. We finally reached the crevice of the mountain and were able to peer into the gorge to see the beauty of the falls.
Tip: Take water shoes and prepare to get wet. The water depth depends on the weather and time of year – it may even be frozen!
Lodging: There are a few lodging options near the falls. You can find mid-range hotels in Alamosa, Colorado located 45 min from the park. Camping is also an option. There is a small state-owned campground at the falls that offers 23 primitive sites at an extremely affordable rate plus a couple other nearby campgrounds.
• NPS-Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
• USFS-Rio Grande National Forest and Sangre de Cristo Wilderness.
• BLM-Blanca Wetlands Recreation Area.
• USFWS-Baca and Alamosa National Wildlife Refuges.
• Great Sand Dunes Oasis-Restaurant, gift shop, and lodge (near GRSA Park entrance).
• Ft. Garland Museum and Cultural Center.
• Colorado Gators Reptile Park.
• UFO Watchtower.
• Sand Dunes Hot Springs Pool.
Other Nearby Campgrounds: Pinyon Flats CG, Great Sand Dunes NPP
Enjoy your trip to Mosca, Colorado and Zapata Falls!
They say to be a good writer, I must write every day, regardless if I want to or not. They say it separates the hobbyists from the skilled workers. The professionals from the amateurs. The women from the girls.
I do write every day. In my journal. All-day long. I scribble thoughts, then a bit of overheard conversation, a line from a book, a lyric that touched my soul. I must examine later why it touched my soul.
I write with purpose, it is my lifeblood, but I do not write to publish. And when faced with the arduous task of writing to publish, it gets sticky, like glue covers my mind and words. I don’t know what to write. My grammar sounds off and awkward, and who would want to read any of this anyhow? Those kinds of thoughts march through my head, one by one. Like the ants on the sidewalk that I dodged on my morning walk. The red ones.
I will change, I tell myself. I will let down these thick, protective walls and publish the damn thing. How hard can it be to tap a little icon? Tap it. It can be tough when that icon reads, publish now. Then you expose a very you, and a very true side of you, to the world.
I’ve lived long enough to know that most people don’t care. Selfish creatures we are, occupied with own our lives. Let’s face it – it should be that way. Today on Dr. Wayne Dyer’s podcast, a woman asked, “what is the greatest thing we can do to help others?” He replied: live your life fully and be a role model.
So, it is normal and healthy to be busy with ourselves. In living free, we set others free. In loving ourselves, we love others. But we also desire the best for those around us, and we are willing to serve in whatever capacity we can. We live free, and we ask, how can I serve?
But back to the daily grind, the daily writing, a daily outlet of servitude. Why must, at times, it feel like a chore, and at other times feel like I have reached the pinnacle, where my gifts and callings collide within me. I do not like this ride.
Writing is a treacherous and dangerous thing. It is annoying and disturbing and sometimes dark, yet, it seems to bring light to the world. And reason out of chaos. And shape nations, minds, and moments.
Turn on a song, would you, and get lost in the lyrics. A writer did that. Most likely a poet. A human who sat at their keyboard and went deep within to find the right words. They proclaimed: today I am a skilled worker – not a hobbyist, a professional – not an amateur, a woman – not a girl. Today, I am a writer.
I spent my childhood moving from one location to another. Family to family, home to home, school to school. Adjust, then readjust. Make friends, then say goodbye. Start over. Be the new girl. Then do it all again. It’s easy to tell ourselves that the next place will be better than this one. Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. In the end, we find paradise within.
The Works of Erin Galloway is a collection of poems from my childhood wanderings. I hope you enjoy.
All original. The Works of Erin Galloway. May 22, 1995.
80 years ago today.
“Lord, free me from all these petty vanities. They take up too much of my inner life, and I know only too well that other things matter much more than being thought nice and charming by one’s fellows.”Etty Hillesum
They called Etty the French term, enfant terrible, as she jumped around on the divan (sofa).
Enfant terrible is a French expression, a person whose unconventional or controversial behavior or ideas shock, embarrass, or annoy others.
Today’s quote is a result of her thoughts about being judged by others. And, a result of the wrestling she did to strike a balance between her playful and serious sides.
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80 years ago today.
“Unless every smallest detail in your daily life is in harmony with the high ideals you profess, then those ideals have no meaning.”Etty Hillesum
Etty made this bold claim about a friend who read inspiring literature about rebuilding life after the war (WWII) and also smoked multiple packs of cigarettes a day. She blatantly told her friend, you can’t have systematic self-destruction and hopes for a better future.
I contemplate Etty’s polarizing quote today. All or nothing viewpoints trigger and require inspection, and with this quote, I do not 100% agree. However, it has me picking through the details of my life like puzzle pieces to inspect which ones fit together and which ones don’t. Where do my ideas and my actions not align? The final picture of my life will be affected.
This is the main idea of Etty’s writings. Always turn back to self. One must consistently look within and evaluate the inner world because, in the end, it is the only thing over which we have control.
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Self-image shapes our personality, happiness, and success. We can change our self-image thereby changing our future. The way we do this is to give our brains, which operate somewhat like machines, the correct data. Maltz relates this idea to programming a missile to hit a target. The missile will aim for the set location and will correct itself several times in route to stay on course.
We program our brains by visualizing desires until we have the feeling of success. Our brains do not know the difference and will kick in and act accordingly. While striving toward our goals, we will correct course several times as we learn. But when the brain has the correct data, we will reach our desired destination.
Maltz, a plastic surgeon by trade, uses medical, scientific, and case studies from his practice to prove the life-changing effects of his methods. He then lays out how to apply these methods to real-life situations.
I was surprised to find a Christian undertone and worldview in this book. Maltz sprinkles Biblical scriptures and teachings to strengthen theories or ideas about the human psyche.
Psycho-Cybernetics has stood the test of time for a reason. I recommend this book to anyone serious about changing the trajectory of their life. It extends hope in situations that may seem out of control. I find the few religious references to be encouraging and life-giving and fit well within the text.
You will finish this book armed with immediate and practical applications. Many well-known self-help gurus have built their work on the writings of Maxwell Maltz. Not surprising, as over 35 million copies of Psycho-cybernetics have sold worldwide.
“Dude, love that book! It has done wonders for me.” – SV
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Young love. A poem from 14 years old.