Millennium Mom

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Days 4&5 Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Hello friends.

When we originally started to plan our trip, our first stop was going to be Rocky Mountain National Park.  As many of you know we are mountain people, not beach people.  It's not that we don't love the beach, but when we retire, we will be in the mountains for sure (not sure how this happened, as my entire family are beach lovers, must have come from Zucker's and rubbed off on me).

But as we did research and consulted our friends the McClure's who live in Boulder, they said "not a good idea, still have lots of snow up there in June, head to Great Sand Dunes instead."  So that became the plan.  In total honesty we had never heard of that park at all, but we were up for the adventure.  Boy, what a nice surprise.  I think Arnie told you what a marvel it is, to see America's largest sand dunes sitting at the base of these huge mountains, not near ANY water, is not quite what you would expect, but here is what it looks like.

As you walk up to it, you have about 300 yards or so of flat sand and then they begin to ascend, fairly quickly.  As Arnie told you, they are HOT.  Like well over 100 degrees hot, particularly the side exposed to the sun.  Unfortunately my dad forgot to tell us that sneakers are recommended (he read it in the guide), so we headed off in sandals, thinking 'it's the beach' so you where sandals.  BAD idea, literally the sides of our feet were getting burned just from walking in the sand and the fact you sunk into the sand.  Here are some pics of our attempts at hiking up.

You can see from the second pic that the McClure's joined us for this part of our adventure.  That is actually another gerat part of our adventure, we are seeing friends everywhere.  Officially we have "six" stops that involve friends - Great Sand Dunes, Los Angeles, Tahoe, Portland, Coer D'Alene and Yellowstone.  So we are extra excited for those stops as we get to catch up with people we haven't see in a while in some cases.  We had not been "live' with the McClure's since our wedding 12.5 years ago.  We had also not met their boys (Kyle and Evan) in person, and vice versa for our kids.  Of course we "know" them via the annual Christmas card and photo sharing sights, but it is always better to actually spend time in conversation with dear friends.  Their boys are handsome and wonderful kids, they are truly blessed.

The highlights of the day for me were two things.  The first was sledding down the sand hills, can't actually say I ever thought I would do that.  We rented two sleds and set off.  I had hoped my mom would do that, not only is this entire trip priceless given a year ago we were waiting for her to have surgery to remove her cancer, but if she sledded down a sand hill, priceless.  The heat was a bit too much for her, so they were smart and brought chairs to observe us from ground level.  We all gave it a try, here are some pics, including me going backwards (not be design!!!).

The second highlight was the kids playing in the mud.  You know, kids just don't play in the mud enough these days.  Why is that?  I can remember making mud pies ALL THE TIME as a kid.  Literally, seemed like a weekly thing.  We made mud hamburgers, hot dogs, you name it.  So I have thought about why isn't this the case?  For my kids, I guess our yard is too well groomed to do this, there is no dirt anywhere.  It could also be obsession with kids not getting dirty?  Maybe the fact they are in front of a screen too much?  Not my kids are outside all the time at home, but never have they played with mud, until this week.  There is a stream as the bottom of the dunes and it helped to cool down the feet as you walked in it.  But of course the kids didn't stop there, they laid in the mud, covered each other in mud, and just had a barrel of fun. 

Then the perfect ending of a great day camping with friends, smores over a campfire, priceless!  Next stop Mesa Verde, Colorado to see the cliff dwellings built in 1200's by Publeons.


  • Joanna- your adventure is amazing and I love how you are creating such amazing experiences for your children. They are priceless memories they will always treasure. You are inspiring me everytime I read your blog! I can't wait to see how the rest of your journey unfolds!

    By Blogger Erin Hoffman, At June 16, 2013 at 5:13 PM  

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