Great Sand Dunes National Park

Dan and I are as internet-dependent as most people our age, but when it comes to planning trips we often stand together in front of our large, physical map of the U.S. (the same Nat Geo map you might find in a school room) and brainstorm.

Such was the case when we were planning out trip to Creede, Colorado — it seemed we’d be in spitting distance of Great Sand Dunes National Park, so we went for it.

(Funny story: we had some car trouble in Creede, requiring our car to be towed home, and neither of us thought to put our National Parks pass in the loaner car’s glove compartment. We pulled up to the gate, prepared to pay — and were informed that it was the National Park Service’s 103rd birthday. All parks were free, for that day only. Happy birthday, NPS!)

What a trippy park. I never expected the west to be home to such diverse and alien landscapes (looking at you, Craters of the Moon and Hell’s Half Acre).

The Great Sand Dunes are part of a rare ecoscape which bridges mountains, the dunes themselves, and a river than runs alongside the dunes. That mix creates a unique environment — from the park website, “Open all day and night year round, the tallest dunes in North America are the centerpiece in a diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and tundra.”

If you look over my shoulder in the photo above, you can see a couple taking a snowboard toward the dunes. We watched people sand-board, sand-sled and even sand-ski in the hot afternoon.

You can count on me: I made an obnoxious amount of references to Frank Herbert’s Dune. #thespicemustflow

A few of Dan’s non-iPhone photos follow:

Hello, gorgeous.
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