Great Sand Dunes National Park

December 4th, 2008

December 4, 2008 Anna and Simon visited 'Great Sand Dunes National Park' in south-central Colorado:

The main objective of the trip was to be in Las Vegas for Jim's wedding, but we left a day early and took a detour to Great Sand Dunes National Park. I had wanted to check this park out, but never had the chance. Days before we arrived there was a pretty good snow storm that covered the dunes. Visible satellite images indicated there was still snow on the dune field, so we brought our sled. This is an amazing park with the largest sand dunes in North America; some rising 600-750 feet above the surrounding plains. There are twelve and thirteen thousand foot mountains on the east side of the park, which provided incredible views. Upon arriving at the park we drove by a fourteen thousand foot plus mountain, Mount Blanca. This is a must visit for any nature lover!

We left Norman, OK the evening before and drove all night and arrived at Great Sand Dunes Nat. Pk. just as the sun was hitting the mountain tops. Most of the park, including the dunes, were still in shadow. The image on the right shows the sign for the park with the dune field and mountains in the background.

The image on the right shows the dune field with massive mountains in the background.

Image on the right shows a close-up of the dunefield and mountains in the background.

We were exhausted, so we took a 30 minute nap in front of the visitor center. We woke when the sun began to shine through our car windows. The image on the right shows the dunes, valley, and mountains with full sun.

Anna and I got suited-up in our winter gear and began treking across a dry, snow-covered stream bed, and started climbing the dunes. Our objective for the day was to climb 'High Dune', the second tallest dune in the park at 650 feet. 'Star Dune' is the tallest dune in the park at 750 feet, but we didn't have time to scale that mountain of sand, but one day we'll head back and conquer 'Star Dune'. Image on the right is looking NNW at the expansive dune field and mountains.

Image on the right is looking north from the top of 'High Dune' at the dune field and mountains. Anna can be seen with an orange sled in the foreground.

Image on the right is looking North from the top of 'High Dune' over the dune field. Anna and I sledded down 'High Dune' and made our way back to the car.

I'll try to get more pics up at a later date, or maybe I'll be able to add pics from another future trip to this amazing National Park.


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