I’m trying to make it out to more national parks this year. Call it a New Years Resolution if you will, but I’m calling it a way to keep sane throughout this pandemic.
Winter time, especially, is a great time to go out to the national parks. Why? BECAUSE NOBODY IS THERE. Perfect when trying to avoid people during a pandemic.
This weekend, we dedicated some time to the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado. Alright, I know that’s an easy pick because I live in Colorado, but not every trip can be out of state, you know?
We drove out on Friday morning from Denver, and got back home Saturday Afternoon. Quick, but absolutely beautiful.
After we found our lodging, we drove out to the Dunes to hang out until sunset.
The Dunes are at the foothills of some beautiful and magnificent 14ers. For those of you who don’t know what a 14er is, these are typically Rocky Mountain Peaks that reach 14,000+ feet, and Colorado has a large majority of the tallest mountains in the Continental US. It’s actually a hobby of quite a few Coloradans to climb 14ers on the weekends…I don’t have the skill or the stamina just yet, haha.
It was a great introduction to our adventures. It was also perfect for us to test out the sand and the temperatures to see what gear we ended up needing for our hike the next day.
We ended up getting to the park around 6:30am, which ended up being perfect timing. We were the only people on the dunes for hours. There were no other visitors until we starting heading back to our car. And not only that, but we got the sunrise all to ourselves.
The two most common sand dunes (which also happen to be the tallest in North America) to hike are Star Dune and High Dune. Online, the majority of hikers say both dunes are extremely difficult hikes. In my opinion, the hike was actually quite doable, but that is impart to the frozen sand. Because of the cold temperatures, the sand was frozen into a more compact texture, which made it a lot easier to climb. Of course there were some soft parts which WERE difficult to hike up, but overall it wasn’t bad. We ended up just hiking High Dune since it was cold enough to warrant our return to the car to warm up our toes (and more importantly, my nose).
However, the cold temperature was totally worth pushing through to see these views:
Highly recommend. Take it outside, y’all.
Mary Jane xx