Monday, September 26, 2016

A Day in Great Sand Dunes National Park!

Okay, I learned something about myself last evening that I am not sure I am thrilled about!  I can climb Angel's Landing, ride a burro into Mexico, go down 1,000 feet into a mine shaft, but I don't feel very comfortable driving to a desolate road, getting out in the pitch dark and looking at the stars.  It is an area where there are black bears and snakes and that makes me "anxious".  I must tell you, the stars were positively amazing - I never saw so many at one time or any as brilliant and the Milky Way went on forever!  But, I still felt uneasy!  I think I have to work on that!!!!

We took our time getting ready this morning because it was only 31 degrees when we awoke and decided we will wait until it warms up a bit to begin our hiking day.  Ken did get some early morning photos from our CG.

Loved the way the sun came up on the Dunes!

Another photo just a little later in the morning!

We drove into the Park and went to the area where most people begin their hike up the Dunes.  There are no paths or trails, you just forge your own.  Hiking in the thick sand and increasing elevation makes it a rather challenging feat, but it was beautiful and so unusual. 

1st we go down to the stream and then start
hiking up the Dunes!

Here we go!

I wonder which way we should go????

Okay, I see the top but how do we get there???

Just keep looking forward! 
Wow, I think we better go around this one!

People were sand boarding down the Dunes!

How do these flowers survive in the sand?????

Ken decided to go to the very top so he could get a view of the other side of the dunes.  After climbing about 7/8 of the hike, I chose to wait for him and enjoy just sitting with my toes in the sand.  

That's me sitting on the Dune and Ken taking the photo
from the very top!

He made it!!!!

Looking down on the other side of the Dunes

Ken is on his way back to me!

I am enjoying the rest and gorgeous view!

The hike down was much easier, but you still had to decide which way to go.  It can get rather interesting.  

Now it is time for the hike back down.  Where is the trail????

Wow, it looks like a lot of sand!

Looking back up as we were heading down!

All those little "ants" are people!

Looking back up again when we are almost at the bottom!
These huge dunes - North America's tallest - are about 11% of the 330 square mile deposit of sand.  We climbed 699 feet of elevation to get to the top. (8,700 ft above sea level)   Breathing was a rather "huffy" at times.  

After about 2 1/2 hours we were back to the car and ready for lunch.  We returned to Waldo and enjoyed eating outside.

This is the office, camp store, and restaurant at the CG!

Ken decided we should probably look for another trail to hike, so we headed back to the Park and looked for the trailhead for the Sand Pit.  Well, there was very little signage but being the navigator that he is, Ken discovered that we had to take a dirt road  that was extremely bumpy and stony for about 2 1/2 miles before coming to a parking area.  Before we reached that parking area,  I kept "whining" that maybe we should turn around.  Ken kept saying that it is probably just around the corner.  Oh, sure!!!  The hike was supposed to be about 1 mile round trip, but we started at the wrong parking area and it was about 2 miles.  So much for a short walk this afternoon.  It did take us down to the Medano Crrk and the bottom of the Dunes.  More elevation on the return to the car.

I know if you go down at the beginning of the hike you have to
 go up on the return,  Oh well, here we go!

Hiking to the bottom of the Dunes!

We arrived at the creek!

A nice view of the Dunes!

More pretty flowers along the way!

We arrived at the CG around 4 and both of us were rather tired.  It was a strenuous day.  Felt revived after showers.  A neighboring camper knocked at our door to tell us we had great taste in motorhomes.  He has the exact same model!  So we went over to their RV to chat.  Very nice visit with Gerry and his wife, Karen.

After dinner, the campers from York, PA, Mick and Vivian, came to Waldo to play Mexican Train.  We had a delightful evening together.  I certainly hope we keep in touch.  They are great people!

Another day to celebrate life!

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