The Great Sand Dunes National Park

PUT THIS ON YOUR LIST AND GO THERE.

Take a high clearance 4 wheel drive.  Plan to spend days.  It’s unexpected, random and unique.  In high mountain country.  Get ready to hike desert sand dunes, burn your feet on the sand, throw sand, eat sand; run, trudge, sled, roll down sand, feel the heat and then in the same day potentially hike to a high, cool mountain lake above 11,000 feet.

Chilling....take that back, baking at the top!

Where are the camels?

We hiked to the highest point on the sand dunes, took us maybe an hour, we ran down quite a bit-in seconds.  Our tracks during the run down, disappear instantly, like we’d never been there, the 34 degree avalanche rule applying to sand as well.

USA or Sahara Desert?Where are the camels?Attempting to hike UP...attempting!The forest after a natural burn in 2010

Attempting to hike UP...attempting!

A beautiful sight of rolling, soft sand dunes.  Butted up against the Sangre de Cristo mountains, blown from the San Juans and continuous because of Medano creek carries it away only to be blown by the ever-steady winds back into place upon a dune.

The forest after a natural burn in 2010

Skidding across the surface of the snow, up to the lake and crossing COLD streams

After, we took the trail for 4 wheel drives.  Got stuck in the ‘Extremely Deep’ sand.  Got unstuck by deflating our tires.  Then entered the National Forest Preserve to the  North, led by a winding trail crossing creek after creek.  Even by scouting each stream we still managed to flood our engine:  it drained nicely!  We camped.  Fly fished in the ‘must be trout here’ stream (didn’t see one.)  And made the hike to Medano Lake the next day.  The 3.5 mile one-way hike was mostly snow packed.  At points we fell knee deep into the snow.  The work, effort and hike paid off.  That view from the lake.  Something our minds can’t imagine.  Hard to process the beauty of the natural giant ampitheater surrounding the still frozen lake and it was June.  We skiied down, with our boots, stumbling/running when our boots stuck:  refreshing!

Medano LakeGreat Sand Dunes National Forest Preserve

Great Sand Dunes National Forest Preserve - Medano Lake

The back forest road=not really a road, at points like stairs of boulders protruding in every direction like a mis-led cactus of stone.  We may have scratched the bottom of the X-Terra a few times but it made it thankfully!  Not sure how: a nail biting, creep upon, over, bumping ride we’d never experienced before.    That itself made the trip!

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About haileerustad

I love everything. I do things differently. Tending to avoid conformity. Accepting unknown adventure whenever its presented. My mission is to live, let life flow through me with endless energy. Exciting and empowering others to find their natural happiness. As life is, all perception.
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One Response to The Great Sand Dunes National Park

  1. Joan Rustad-Huisman says:

    AWESOME photos.!! The delicate arch is beautiful and the photos out car window it seems look like they are curved..??? cool look the curvature ones. Thanks for sharing photos and hiking adventures. Joan

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