Playing On The Great Sand Dunes

Yesterday we visited the Great Sand Dunes National Park. We had never been there before, so we made a stop at the Visitor Center, to see what we could learn before heading out to play on the dunes. We learned that “these huge dunes-North America’s tallest-are about 11 percent of a 330-square-mile deposit of sand. Eroded from mountains, then shattered by freezing and thawing, and tumbled by streams and winds, sand grains cycle through the dunes system.” That’s amazing.

We also learned safety tips to protect yourself before going out on the dunes. We learned :

  1. The sand can be REALLY HOT.  “In summer months during mid-day, sand temperatures can reach 150 degrees F. Hike during the morning or evening to avoid heat exhaustion and/or burned feet.” We were there in the morning and the sand was not hot.
  2. “Lighting can occur anytime during the warmer months, when afternoon storms approach the dunes. Avoid fatal lightning strikes by experiencing the dunes and other open areas during morning hours. Remain in a building or vehicle until 30 minutes after the last thunder. If you are in immediate danger, crouch in a low-lying area on top of a pack to prevent ground charge.” I guess if you don’t have a pack to lay on top of, you just crouch, and kiss your ass good-bye. Ha! 🙂
  3. “High winds are possible any time of the year Especially during the spring season, storm fronts can produce high winds which cause sand to blow. Hike during these conditions at your own risk. If hiking during windy conditions, consider wearing eye protection, long sleeves and pants to avoid getting sand-blasted“.

But hey, if the sand isn’t too hot, there’s no lightning, or storm clouds in the area, and no high winds, then you’ve got this, so go have fun. Ha! 🙂

So off we went.

Let me just say, it’s a long hike from the Visitor Center, through constantly shifting sand, to reach the top of these Great Sand Dunes. When we first started out, I asked Bill/Papa if he wanted to rent a sandboard so we could slide down the dunes once we reach the top. He said “how do we get to the top”? I told him that I didn’t see a chair left anywhere, and that I read it was a calf-burning adventure.. He said ‘oh, ____ NO”! We laughed, as we were trudging our way along, and talked about how nice it would be if there were some way to have a chair lift to the top, but of course, that would be impossible on the ever shifting sand. I’m telling you that you can get your toes in the sand here and never even have to take off your shoes.

After you reach the top of what you’re going to call your summit, which doesn’t have to be the highest peak,

the easy, and fun part, would be sliding back down if you had a sandboard. Because when you fall down, sit down, or come to a stop sliding down, it’s an even bigger challenge getting back on your feet in the shifting sand. Ha!

Bill/Papa said “this is a lot of sand, but unlike Oregon, where you walk in the sand and reach water, here you walk in the sand, and reach a hill of more sand”.

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is beautiful, and I’m so glad we got to visit, and experience for ourselves, how truly amazing the Great Sand Dunes really are.

After we finished playing on the dunes, we brushed ourselves off, emptied our shoes of an excessive amount of sand, and made our way towards the Great Sand Dunes Lodge and RV Park, where we were going to have lunch. On the way there we passed by these deer who didn’t seem to mind interrupting their lunch to pose for a picture.

We had a delicious lunch in this adorable diner next to the Lodge and RV Park.

I couldn’t resist getting pictures of these signs they have hanging around the ice cream and homemade pie counter. I think we could use a few of these signs in our Visitor Center back at McDowell Mountain Park. 🙂



Of course, I couldn’t leave the area without buying my token magnet. I think this one is just perfect to remind me of our day at the Great Sand Dunes.

Stay Tuned!



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gotham girl
    Jun 07, 2018 @ 18:31:55

    Oh what a wonderful post. I LOVE the image of you sitting with the vast sand dunes surrounding you! So happy you’re exploring and making all kinds of new memories! Love you both!


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