Parking lot full of cars, check. Kids running around in swimsuits, check. People with beach chairs and umbrellas, check. Fourteen thousand foot snow capped peaks socked in with clouds, HUH? Our trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park almost felt like a trip to the beach. This park is one of those strange wonders that comes along every so often proving Mother Nature has a sense of humor, or at least irony. Sure there is a scientific answer as to how the sand got there (go Google it and figure it out yourself), but who really cares when you can climb up to the top of these things and run down full tilt boogie! Not to mention playing in the creek that runs through the dunes, the rains and snowmelt provided for a good flow.
The hike to the top was a little over a mile which lead to the whole breathing hard increased heart rate thing (typical when you hike straight up something), followed quickly by euphoria of being on top and checking out the view. It’s the next part I usually hate the most, but not this time. With the clouds building and winds whipping sand I headed down, quickly.
I thought about retracing my steps, after all I did try to follow the contours and ultimately the path of least resistance, but that would take too long. By the looks of the clouds I didn’t want to get turned into glass with one bolt so I headed down, straight down. I had seen kids going down stuff that looked waaaaay too steep and thought to myself that they were crazy, turns out they were onto something…they were onto fun! I opted not to roll or tumble down, just run at a slight angle really fast. Turns out if the sand is soft enough and you hit your heel just right you can plod down these dunes somewhat in control. It was awesome, way better than the view from the top. It was like skiing and I had earned my turns, except these slopes felt steeper than anything I would usually ski down. I felt like a kid running wild without a care in the world, save those clouds building over Mt Blanca. Then the slope would ease and my run would turn into a jog up the next dune where I hit the crest and weeeeee! Down again. This went on till I got back to the creek, then the rain started and I had to hoof it in across flat land without gravity’s help.
Its the little things
Whoever thought you could get some ‘beach’ front property in Colorado wasn’t so crazy after all.