Great Sand Dunes National Park

While we were at Pueblo we were close to Great Sand Dunes. Our current travel goal is to visit all 61 National Parks. We are about half way through the list. We took off to Great Sand Dunes. I was driving. It was a beautiful drive. We kept getting closer and closer to this mountain. Donna asked if she needed me to drive. I said I could handle it. I drove over a 9,600 plus foot mountain all by myself and I did not drive. I am trying to get myself ready for when we enter Yellowstone since I know I will have to drive over mountains.

Once over the mountain you enter this plains looking area. It is so wondrous. There are mountains on all sides. The temperature dropped by about 10 degrees. This was welcomed since this was an especially warm day. As you get closer the mountains seem to grow taller. After turning a corner, you see the dunes. They are HUGE! They are so big that they make White Sands look like baby dunes. I immediately make a vow to climb to the top of one of these dunes. I told Donna. She stated that she would not be joining me on this quest. Her language was a little stronger than that but this is a family blog so I won’t give you an exact quote.

There is construction when you enter the park. There is a wash that has a very deep dip. I would be very careful with a large truck or with any size RV. We checked out the RV park. It states you can park RVs up to 29 feet but I would be hesitate to park anything but a under 20 feet travel trailer. There are very low trees all through the park. There are more tent spots than RV spots. I would make sure to have reservations or call ahead before just showing up with a RV.

The Visitor Center is very informative. You have great view of the dunes from this area. There are flat trails in this area that are accessible. We drove up to the dunes so that we could walk. This is not easy walking. It is more than beach sand. You must first traverse a flat creek bed to get to the dunes. We climb up the first dune. We are both a little out of breath. Donna wishes me good bye and I set off to climb the second dune. By time I was half way up the second dune I knew that there was no way I was going to make it to the top this time. This sand is so soft. I kept getting stuck. It was hard to move your feet. The altitude was getting to me. When I finally got to the top of the second dune, I turned around and waved at Donna. She could not see me so I called her and let her know that I would not be making to the top today.

I sit down and try to figure out a route back where I don’t have to go up and dune the again. I see a route where I will only have to walk half way down to get back to the top so that I can get to the bottom. Yep, that is a convoluted sentence. That is exactly how my brain was working trying to get off this hard walking sand. My thighs are now burning. My legs feel like each has a 20 pound weight attached to it.

I make it back to Donna and we start the long walk back to the parking lot. Once off the sand I felt like a million bucks. My legs were so light that I started walking faster. I take of each of my sneakers. I dump about 10 pounds of sand out of them. Sand training has been added to my list of exercises. I started thinking that this must be what astronauts feel like when they get back to earth. Free to have easier movement.

This place is so much fun. Have you been? Is it on your list to see?

On the way back we got to drive by this solitary butte. It is called the Huerfano Butte. It is/was used as a landmark to help guide folks when traveling in southern Colorado.

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