The Great Sand Dunes

To celebrate our first year of marriage, we took a road trip out west to Colorado.

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Little Esteban faced his largest challenge yet: scaling the rockies. Esteban did, in the words of Larry David, pretty good.

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The first stop in the trip was the beautiful, quiet mountain town of Frisco. This is apparently not a very popular time to be in Frisco, as a lot of the restaurants were closed, but we made do with a hotel-room picnic complete with wine and cheese. We visited a few scenic overlooks and a riverside park full of bikers and happy dogs with their humans. The air was brisk, but the weather was sunny, and we enjoyed our little taste of winter as a novelty after so many months in the tropics. After two nights in Frisco, Esteban coasted us down through the mountains to Mosca, Colorado, home of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

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Located in southern central Colorado, the sand dunes are a strange and unique attraction. The dunes are the tallest in North America, with the tallest peaks over 750 feet tall. We came very close to skipping the climb altogether, since there had been some rain recently, and we had to cross a shallow but wide creek to get there. We stuck it out with reinforcements, and made it pretty far up the dunes before throwing in the towel. Although easier than our hike up Mt. Batur, it was a long hike through a ridiculous amount of sand. We saw some people sand boarding and sledding down from the highest dunes.

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Being a desert climate, and at the foot of the mountains, there’s a tremendous temperature variation in the dunes from day to night: the daytime high can be 50 degrees warmer than the overnight low. The night we camped in the park, it was rather chilly, reaching a low of about 26 degrees. We debated sleeping in the car, but our little campsite looked so cute, and the sub-Arctic tent proved quite snug.¬†We did have a hungry deer come poking around near dusk, but it was much less frightening than a hungry bear would have been!

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