It was difficult to make the right fashion choices today because the itinerary had to remain fluid. My neighbor and I have been wanting to go on an adventure to the Sand Dunes (Great Sand Dunes National Park) since April and have not been able to work it out. Today was the last chance we would have for a long time so we seized the day.
We tried yesterday, but the weather got really ugly — or dramatic — depending on your point of view. Of course, when we gave up the adventure, the weather cleared, but that’s Colorado…
It’s potato harvest — slowed down this year by inclement weather — so there were potato trucks to watch out for. They are immense, heavy, loaded with potatoes and often driven by guys who never had a license or have lost the one they had. One such truck recently tangled with a train in broad daylight (trains being hard to see and hear). The train won. The potato truck driver was hurt and the truck was damaged.
To get to Great Sand Dunes National Park from Monte Vista you take country roads. It was beautiful in every direction. Busy farms, trucks, potato barns open, constantly changing sky. AND we got lost in a conversation and then lost on country roads. But the whole area is flat, it’s a grid, and going east is the Sand Dunes, sooner or later and somehow. Back on the right road, straight ahead, was Mt. Blanca coming through the clouds like a dream.
The first sight really does take your breath away. At the moment, the aspen are at their last extremely brilliant burst of color and on a gray, humid day they seem lit from inside.
I got to use my brand new shiny Senior Pass. I was a little worried because my ID was in the very back of the car in my pack with Dusty, but the Ranger took the pass and asked me my name. She had a twinkle in her eye, so I said, “Whoa, uh, uh…” and she cracked up. I told her my name. 🙂
There is a seasonal stream — Medano Creek — that runs between the dunes and the not dunes. In summer it’s literally “the beach” and kids body surf on it. Usually this time of year there is no flow, but it was flowing pretty good today. We struggled for a time to keep our feet dry and then gave up. Dusty T. Dog — without his sidekick, Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog — felt pretty special I think. Anyway, he’s tired now.
It’s something to see. It’s a truly remote spot but there were tourists from Switzerland, Germany and China and possibly places I don’t know. Fashionable footwear? Wet, sandy shoes, soaked socks and damp, sandy jeans.
And if you ever get a chance to have a REAL Colorado potato with butter and whatever fixings you like, jump on it!