Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

So last Friday at lunchtime we loaded Steve-O, Tookie, and Ethan into the van, along with a cooler full of hot dogs, s'mores fixins, water bottles, root beer, and Pepsi Maxx, and headed over to Great Sand Dunes NP.

We had to detour through Pueblo, of course, as our tax dollars are still being invested in CO 10 to Walsenburg. Despite the detour, it was still a very pleasant drive, at a very pleasant time of the year.

The aspens are turning, though they weren't at peak. We turned off US 160 to take CO 150 up to the park. We got to the visitor center about 3-ish, and to the dunes about 3:30.It's about 18-20 miles to the high dunes from US 160, but they glistened in the distance like pinkish silk, ruffling on the valley floor.

Mount Herard rose in the background as the kids took off across the flats in front of the dunes to at least try to make it to the top. They didn't. It's too much fun sliding down the slopes. About 6 we went to our motel; we stayed in Great Dunes Lodge, a couple of miles up from the park entrance.

The kids enjoyed a swim in the heated pool, while Leece and I got the hot dogs and other dinner goods going. The motel has several gas grills on a patio overlooking the dunes. After all the hiking and the swim, there were no left over hot dogs, and the s'mores Leece put together were well received by all.

We stayed up for awhile star-gazing. A spectacular meteor streaked across the sky at one point. We saw a satellite go overhead. And the Milky Way, of course, was almost beyond description in that clear night air with no city lights murking it up.

The kids passed out and slept soundly till dawn, when Leece and I got up to watch the sunrise over the dunes.

Then we packed up, and went hiking along the lower reaches of the Mosca Trail till nearly noon. We have a gallery of photos of the park trip up on WritingPlaces.com's galleries page, under Road Trips.

Leaving the park, we went to Alamosa for the Swink Lions v. Mancos Bluejays game, which was played at Adams State's Rex Field. The Lions won, 50-0. We have a good gallery of photos of the game up on Shutterfly. You can get to the Shutterfly link on WritingPlaces.com's galleries page.

On the way home, we stopped several times along US 160, including at La Veta Pass, to take photos of the fall foilage.

A good time was had by all.