I first heard about North America’s largest sand dunes from Runaway Juno on her blog. This set the wheels in motion to adventure on down to experience them for myself, on the weekend of the Fall Equinox.
The Great Sand Dunes National Park just outside Mosca, Colorado in the United States.
The park is at an elevation of 8,175 feet of above sea level, with the sand reaching a temperature of 140 degrees F in the summer. I set my sights on hiking to the second highest dune in the park, aptly called “High Dune” another 650 feet up.
The blue sky and cool temperatures ease my mind as I slowly make my way up the steep, sandy dunes. There is no straight path as the wind constantly changes the landscape of this place. I follow a ridge that is in the opposite direction of final destination, hoping to curve around the great dust bowls of hollowed out time.
The sun is beating down in mid afternoon cruelty, mirages appear in the distance. Lovers stripping off their clothes to make love in the soft sand, a father and son sliding down great hills while holding each other in a warm embrace, a trio of hipsters doing yoga on a peak.
The summit of High Dune is only a few feet away, the wind is picking up billions of sand particles and pelting them against my skin like a shotgun blast of rock salt. I trudge on until I reach the top, and revel in the accomplishment.
Hours to climb takes only minutes to descend as I run like a child down the steep sides, tripping and falling, rolling in the sand.
I feel free….