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ABOUT COLORADO'S SAN LUIS VALLEY
At about 7800 feet in elevation, the San Luis Valley is the
largest high alpine valley in the world. Less precipitation falls
here every year than on the Sahara Desert. In this valley, however,
the desert terrain literally floats above huge freshwater aquifers.
These aquifers represent connections to both our history as an
agricultural center, and to our pre-history as a vast ocean.
Legends and tales of powerful magic are attached to this mysterious
water source, and to the mountain that anchors the whole system – Mt.
One of many mountains higher than 14,000 feet in the Sangre
de Cristo range, Mt. Blanca commands attentive respect, even
when viewed from the San Juan mountains on the other side of
the valley, almost 200 miles away. To the Hopi people, who spent
time here long before European settlers, Mt. Blanca is known
as one of four sacred points on the Earth. At the foot of this
one mountain, pools of melted ice find rest after their headlong
journeys down the sides of the hundreds of mountains that hide
and protect this wide, fertile valley.
Water is widely regarded as the primordial source of creativity – life
in all its earthly expressions depends on water. The presence
of life-giving water in a high desert valley nourishes an atmosphere
of drama and mystery – it’s just the kind of place
for gifted artists to explore and grow. Talented people from
all over the world have been drawn to this isolated mountain
valley – perhaps it is something in the water that compels
them to stay. Visitors may attribute their attraction to the
landscape, or the slow pace of life, or the rich and generous
culture intertwined with some of the worst poverty rates in the
nation. But transplanted locals agree with those whose families
have worked this land for generations: in the San Luis Valley,
the rewards are rich for those who carefully tend their wells.