Some of the earliest traces of man in North America can be found at the foot of the Great Sand Dunes. Man may have started coming here 10,500 years ago, before the Great Sand Dunes may have even been formed. Breathtaking spear points have been found with mastodon tusks. 12 different Indian (Southwestern, Great Basin and Plains) tribes shared the sacred “bloodless” valley; location of the “Sacred Mountain of the East” and the Sipapu, or “place of emergence.”
In the mid-1600s Spanish conquistadores and missionaries followed the Rio Grande River Valley north to the Taos Pueblo, oldest continuously inhabited dwellings in North America. The gold-seeking Spanish were driven out by the Indians for 13 years in 1680, but by the early 1700s, Spanish settlers had reached what is now Colorado. Life was hard at 7,000 feet.
In 1878, aspiring miner, Alferd Packer, found out the hard way. Twice convicted of eating his companions on his way to Saguache, Colorado, Packer’s grisly saga still sparks debate and controversy!
In the 20th Century-still physically and metaphorically isolated from the outside world, this unique Spanish-American subculture has developed its own unique character. The close-knit Hispanic community is very superstitious and generally wary of outsiders, creating an effective roadblock for researchers and investigators who’ve come here attempting to uncover the many secrets this valley holds on to so tightly.