Day 3-4: The Great Sandbox in the Sky (1,300-1,800 miles)

Another entry from the travelogue…

After dropping some friends off at the airport, I headed south to check out the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It was the main reason I decided to drive (rather than fly) to Colorado for the wedding. Fortunately, it did not disappoint.
magic from a distance
One thing that a camera–even a good one–can’t capture is the sheer size of the dunes. Maybe this will provide some scale.
dunes and mountains

I had every intention of climbing to the top of the highest dune but in a fit of poor planning, I wore tevas instead of the recommended tennis shoes. I got about 3/4 of the way up and then I realized I’m a total idiot.
steep clim
The combination of high altitude, heat, and sandy terrain made what was supposed to be a 3 mile jaunt into one of the most grueling hikes I’ve ever done. I had to turn around and give up with the top in sight because my feet were on fire! I barely made it back down to the bottom with my feet in tact. Clearly the kids had the right idea by sticking to the cooler sands near Medano Creek (or at least what’s left of it).
sand play

While recovering from my trek, I snapped one of my favorite pics from the trip.
water play
There was an Amish family (I think) hiking nearby and I caught some of their kids in a bit of play and contemplation.
rear view

Taking a cue from the kids I retreated to the cool and calm of Zapato Falls.
zapato falls 1
Tucked away in the back behind giant boulders was the actual waterfall. It was insanely hard to get there since I had to wade through ice cold water and slippery rocks. I only slipped once and still have a healthy bruise below my knee to prove it. But it was still worth it.
zapato falls 2
Excuse the poor picture quality. There was very little light at the base of the falls and I this was the best I could do without getting washed downstream.

Tomorrow, Wyoming and South Dakota.

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5 responses to “Day 3-4: The Great Sandbox in the Sky (1,300-1,800 miles)

  1. poor picture quality? I dig it!

    i really like the amish boy at an angle through the flora, too.

  2. Thanks for the breathtaking scenery!

  3. These photos are gorgeous! I am SO glad that you didn’t get washed down the waterfall!

  4. Wow! Incredibly beautiful. That family is irresistible.

  5. Your photos and all your work and creativity are so beautiful! It was great to see you at the wedding, and I wish I could have joined you on the trip to the dunes as well–aren’t they amazing?! But man, can the sand there burn!

    I love reading and seeing all the exciting things you are up to! What a wonderful blog!

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