Sunday, October 5, 2014

An Unexpected Sandbox...



It was time for our next phase of our adventure,

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve!

I have to tell you, it's a little bizarre to see a big ole' pile of sand next to the Rocky Mountains..

Hello!  In 1999 You became a National Park

It's like God just dumped a bunch of sand at the bottom of the mountains
National Parks have this amazing ability to take my breath away.  I love to just sit and take it in, some times at the expense of hiking around.  The beauty and diversity of the parks are the major reasons I am trying to see all of them.  Great Sand Dunes is no exception and I found out something very important for me....

If I am hiking thru sand, there had better be an ocean near by!  Walking in sand is HARD work!
someone trekking thru the sand, poor soul

look for the dots on the ridges, they are hikers.. crazy souls.
We trekked across what would be the Medano River during the Spring and early Summer and made to the actual Dunes.  Up and down....  Across...  and plop...  It was unseasonable warm the day we visited and the sand was HOT and as I said above, hiking in the sand is not easy....
the trek across the Medano River area... (the dark line in the distance is the other edge)
We pretended we were hiking across the Sahara, because once you were in the dunes, they were all you could see.
Patterns in the Sand

Where in the world are we?  Colorado.....

Where's my ocean?
Ok, here is my nerdy tip for visiting National Parks, take advantage of the Visitor's Center!!!  Watch the movies, attend lectures by Rangers, and ask for advice!  I have never once failed to get information that made my visit better!!!  For the Sand Dunes, I learned about the amazing ecosystem the Dunes are a part of and support....
The Mountains, The Dunes, The River which lead to the Wetlands.
Amazing what Nature can do....

For the active crowd, you can rent sand boards and sleds to play on the dunes with, but I did not have the best shoes for the sand, so I skipped that, but it did look fun....

My final tip, just outside the entrance of the park, there is a gas station/ store/ restaurant.
STOP!!!!  and have a piece of pie.
Trust me....

I would love to go back to Sand Dunes in the spring when the Medano River is running.  It is shallow and from the movie in the Visitor's Center looked like a lot of fun to cool off in after playing in the sand.

Still getting the sand off...
Melissa







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