Monday, October 3, 2016

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Andy and I went to the Great Sand Dunes National Park two weekends ago. The park is 150,000 breath-taking acres four hours southwest of Denver in a town called Mosca, CO. The Great Sand Dunes National Park has the largest dunes in North America, and the dunes occupy 30 square miles of the park. The park also boasts grasslands, wetlands, forests, lakes, a creek, and more. All surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo mountains. So, picture it: 750 foot high sand dune peaks nestled right up next to 14,000+ foot high mountain peaks. Are you picturing it? Let me help:

We headed out Thursday night from Denver, and camped Thursday and Friday nights at the Pinon Flats campground in the park.

(Warning, I'm posting a lot of pictures cuz it's that damn photogenic.)

View from our campsite!

Friday we had the whole day open to explore the park. The biggest attraction is, of course, the dunes and they're open to hike all over. We did the High Dune on First Ridge hike. From the top it provides panoramic views of the dune field and the mountains. It was a hell of a hike but I'd do it again and again!

That's me - climbing!  

The last push to the top! Much harder than it looks.
I found these sunflowers growing way up towards the top of the dunes.

So happy I made it!

We spent the rest of the day around the campground playing games, drinking beers, going for some walks.

It was really windy and Christine and Lindsay's tent gave up.

Cooking me a grilled cheese.


Christine and Lindsay joined us late Friday night. It was so dang cold, IT WAS SNOWING, that we all just crashed out right away. So we made the most of Saturday morning hanging out, drinking coffee and breakfast beers, cooking breakfast over the fire, and going for a hike. A jam-packed few hours - just the way I like it!

Our tent was crunchy in the morning.

The four of us hit the road Saturday afternoon to Pagosa Springs (a two hour drive west of the dunes) for our friend Allison's birthday celebration. We spent most of our time cheersing beverages to Allison, hanging out at Riff Raff brewery (which was directly below the airbnb we were renting), and not taking pictures - oops. We made our Sunday drive back to Denver a mini brewery-crawl and visited three craft beer places on the way.

Elevation Beer Co. in Poncha Springs.

Jailhouse in Buena Vista.

Andy didn't want to take a picture with me.

Broken Compass in Breckenridge.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and stories of our time away from Denver. We loved our long weekend getaway and seeing new views in our state!