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The Great Sand Dunes

Friday – Sunday, April 30 – May 2, 2010


This last Thursday was Amanda’s birthday, so she got to choose where we went last weekend. After getting a taste of The Great Sand Dunes last August, she wanted to head back while Medano Creek was flowing. Since she ended up having Friday off from work, I ended up taking the day off as well, and we made our way down to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

We took the scenic route through Lake City and Creede via Colorado 149. Along the way we stopped at the North Clear Creek Falls. We were greeted with a closed seasonal gate, so we parked the Jeep and hiked to the falls.




Before reaching Creede, we spotted a few Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep along the road. I’ve never managed to get a photo of one before, so I had to stop.



Soon we reached Alamosa and checked into our hotel and grabbed an early dinner. We were glad we got a hotel this trip as the weather was not the best and we were glad not to be camping in the cold. After dinner we headed out to the dunes to catch the sunset.


Medano Creek was flowing

We headed up into the dunes to play.




Then we watched the sunset…



On Saturday we started out by heading back to the park and following the Medano Pass trail a little ways to Castle Creek.


We hiked down to Medano Creek where a steep sand dune rose high on the opposite bank. The sand on this steep dune was constantly flowing down the side and into the creek. It was pretty relaxing to watch.


I climbed up the side of this dune a little ways.

I got nice views down on Medano Creek from above. If you look closely, you might even be able to spot Amanda.

When I got back down, we took a break from the sand and headed a few miles outside of the park so we could hike to Zapata Falls. It was a quick and easy hike to the falls, but we were a little worried that we might not be able to see the falls when we got there. Zapata Falls are located in a short slot canyon, and you have to walk through the creek to see them. The weather was pretty cold out, so walking through the creek would not be an option. Luckily, when we reached the canyon, we found that the creek was still iced over, so we could walk on the ice. Though, it was a little nerve-wracking walking on the ice, not sure if it would still hold our weight, and hearing the creek rushing right below the ice under our feet. I’m glad we were able to see the waterfall while it was still mostly ice, but I know we will want to head back sometime in the summertime when it’s flowing and we can walk through the creek.



Amanda heading back from the falls

A few hours before sunset, I headed out to hike to the top of High Dune, which is about 650 feet tall. I took plenty of photos along the way….




Great views of the Dune Field and Mount Herard from near the top of High Dune

View from the top of High Dune

Headed back down to meet up with Amanda again.


We stuck around for sunset again before heading back to the hotel.


Sunday morning we went back to the park for a quick hike around the Montville Nature Trail before heading home.

Though the weather didn’t cooperate with us as much as we would have liked this weekend, we managed to still have a great time 🙂

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