Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Along the drive through Colorado, travelers see a plethora of breathtaking sights – mountains, cliffs, streams, rivers, wildlife. What I never expected to see, however, was sand dunes. Huge ones. Did I mention HUGE? These, I’m telling you, these are NOT your grandma’s sand dunes!
After driving through an extensive, wide, flat prairie encircled by gorgeous snow-capped mountains, we suddenly could see the sand dunes in the distance. Seeing them from a distance, though, seriously, is not good enough.
These dunes are massive. Mountain tall. And there are a lot of them! In order to get to them, visitors get to wade through what, when we were there, was a broad, surging stream, sometimes knee deep, of ice cold water rushing down from the mountains. Fun!
Standing at the base of these dunes, heralded as the tallest in North America, one could feel small, insignificant. Unless, of course, you bring some white sheets and play Lawrence of Arabia. (No, we didn’t do that. We DID wish we had thought of it!) People climbing up them looked like ants leaving the mound. Looking up at them, I had to wonder how in the HELL something like this could be. According to the brochure we got in the visitor’s center, the dunes are, “Eroded from mountains, then shattered by freezing and thawing, and tumbled by streams and winds…”
Walking along the sand dunes, at the base of them, can be a bit painful for those of us that are tender-footed as the sand here is not as fine as one would expect. However, as we climbed, the sand became reminiscent of that we would find at the beach – hot, fine, and difficult to walk through.
If you get a chance, go. They’re awesome!