July 2, 2017
The Great Sand Dune National Park received a quick visit today. The place was packed with families trying out wooden sleds and snow board equipment of the massive dunes snuggled up next the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The combination of wind, erosion and a number of other unusual factors conspire to keep this dune piled high. It changes with the season and the conditions but essentially remains the same. We managed to take the nature hike and take some remote pictures of families splashing in the river next to the dune while careening down the slopes. I can think of two little boys who will love it.
The dune is located at an interesting place where Spanish explorers, missionaries and settlers used the nearby Rio Grande River as their lifeline on the old Spanish Trail. Zebulon Pike crossed the Sangre de Cristo mountains at this point while finding Pike’s Peak. The Pathfinder John C. Fremont also staked part of his fame on locating this easy way around the southern Rockies. For us, after zooming over 11,000 foot plus Monarch Pass we had reached the other side of the continental divide. All water flows to the Mississippi until we cross the Appalachians.
The day also brings us close enough to Denver and the kids to force a stop at a motel with showers in order to clean up a bit. Just a few pictures today.