The Great Sand Dunes!

This weekend we ended up visiting sand dunes in Southern Colorado. Remarkably, this was the first time I had the opportunity to think about my sand dune stats. Two Continents. Three Countries. Four States. While not huge numbers, I was impressed, and when asked if I’d ever romped in and on sand dunes before, I could respond confidently.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

These dunes however were, are, and will, likely continue to remain quite different. For instance, Mexico puts their dunes by the beach and California where ever they damn well please. Michigan put them off to the side where people could go and not bother The Industry, but Colorado, they put their dunes right in a pocket of the majestically massive Rockies. At the edge of a vast open valley. Just past the official Alien watch tower, and beyond the crocodile petting zoo. Around the corner from the Dune View Pool and before you arrive at Mac’s Ranch House. It’s conveniently distanced from most centers of civilization, but annoyingly close to high winds. Several signs indicate it’s existence, and yet visually it’s somewhat hidden from view by it’s towering compatriots. However, once close enough to discern detail, they obscure the details of the tree line and it become evident what you’ve been shooting for since you left the house several driver rotations ago.

The road still drives straight and the grey turns into defined mounds. Then the road gives you a little teasing swerve and the mounds become textured and layered. You make a turn and a sign indicates distance from your goal, plus or minus. Deer ponder the vitality of grass and photographers ponder the vitality of deer while you ponder the vitality of your bladder. A small hut is stationed in the middle of the road and pushes you aside with an abrupt indication to STOP, but nobody is home to collect your alms and it’s easy to ignore the entire event. However, one sign ignored is all signs ignored and you forget to heed the sign that states proper vehicle preparations. Not once, but three times signs indicate proper attire and still you forgive their intrusion into your life. It’s dark now and there are no more signs, or at least none that you can read. Besides you’re having fun and signs are no fun anyway, so who invited them in the first place. Your overloaded vehicle, which needed a coat and tie to even get into this buffet of excitement, makes a rude comment and the whole scene goes quiet. Who knows what was said, or how wrong it was, but fact is you were never invited in the first place and now you’re in a pickle.

Though you’ve rudely invited yourself someplace you shouldn’t have, the low point of your evening comes and goes as you invigorate the happening with a bit of slap-hapadoodle. New friends are made and someone suggests a different party. You share, you laugh, and you stand by and watch happily helpless and likely drunk. And so goes the global ritual of being at the dunes. A place so desolate, so obscure, so remote, and so undeniably odd that the only condiment surely must be booze.

…That being said, that’s YOU and not me.

We arrived Friday evening and after some vehicular adjustments made our way to our campsite, ate some dinner, enjoyed a nitecap and then promptly fell asleep. Waking up in the morning we ascended to the crest of the tallest sand peak in North America and planted our flag, flew our kite, photographed ourselves and strangers, and generally enjoyed our new found status as masters of the dunes. Then it was a foot race down the hill to enjoy lunch and then back in the cars and back on the road. Phew. An enjoyable day.

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