Wednesday, September 28, 2011

GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK


We left Colorado Springs Monday morning and drove 283 kms to the Great Sand Dunes.  We stopped on the outskirts of Walsenburg for lunch.  There was a stall selling fresh produce so we bought several things for our larder and contributed to the local economy.   The sand dunes were pretty impressive and we got a site in the campground where we could look right out on them.   No internet for us for the two days though.
After getting the RV set up and Aileen established and heading for her nap, I drove up the gravel road below us to the “Point of no Return” where I parked then walked (and walked!) down to the dunes.  I walked along the edge of the dunes for quite a way then climbed part way up.  These dunes have the softest sand I’ve experienced.  It was one step ahead and ¾ step back each time.  Combined with the 8200 feet elevation, it was quickly exhausting.   I decided early on I was going to walk the Jeep road back which I did although it had lots of soft sand in spots too.  I did lots of shooting during the two days and got a few keepers.
One interesting thing that happened was just as we were going into the visitor’s center yesterday, my PSA photo friends from England, Brian and Diana were coming out.  I’d been seeing them all week at the conference but had no idea they were going to be at the Great Dunes.  Later in the afternoon they came by the campsite for a visit.  It was nice to have a chance to visit away from the busy conference.   They had to leave by four pm to get back to Colorado Springs before it got too dark.
We made the drive to Gunnison, CO today and it was a leisurely 240 kms.  We decided to take Highway 114 through the mountains and it was a good choice.  Just one easy 10,135 foot pass with good grades and hardly any traffic.   I have several areas in mind to check out for fall colour and interesting scenery around Gunnison.  The forecast is not the best with possible thunder showers every day for the next six.  The temperature is to get down in the low 30’sF as well so maybe there will be some snow up high to enhance the colour.  I notice the forecast just 50 miles to the west is much better so perhaps we’ll do okay.
We’ve booked two nights here at Lakeside RV Park and may extend it depending on what we find.  From here we plan to go to Grand Junction, CO for a week or more to visit friends Ken and Marie and do more exploring.
The internet is so slow here this post has taken quite some time to get up.







Some of the Juniper trees have interesting shapes

 Those who have a good imagination should be able to come up with the same thing I did with this guy

Lots of interesting small animal tracks


There were so many flowers still blooming


The last shot I took this morning before leaving from right across from our site