We were driving up the steep road, up and into the Sangre de Cristo mountains. It was BLM land so you could still see between the smallish trees. Off to the south I saw something I had never seen before in person: a wall of dust coming north.
It was almost unnatural looking because the wall was a straight line, lined up east-to-west, and advancing northward through Colorado's San Luis valley. (Technically it is Colorado, but in reality it is the northern end of New Mexico.)
My camp was 1500 feet above the valley floor, so perhaps it would be above the oncoming wall of wind and dust? Nope. The rush of wind and dust happened in a couple minutes. Visibility fell to a couple hundred yards. But in five minutes it was over and the sun came out again.
So the experience was mild compared to the Great Mother of All Haboobs which hit Arizona a couple years ago. Still, it was a 'personal best.'
|The famous Arizona haboob of 2018|
Most people don't go through that many freakish natural events. I grew up in tornado alley and never came close to a twister. Similarly with people who live in earthquake, volcano, and tsunami areas.
Still, it is thought-provoking to do some homework on these events and start seeing nature as a process instead of just a pretty postcard. Static nature never really inspires me.
Maybe what we had doesn't even fit the official definition of a haboob. What matters is that it made the local sand dunes come alive. And the experience doesn't take an admission fee, a six month reservation, or a tolerance for hordes of people.