Great Sand Dunes National Park

Recently I published an article about ongoing scorching heat in India. Soon after that, we had decent rainfall and I thought temperature will come down now. But I was wrong, humidity only increased (I live in Northern India) and it appears that Sun-Lord wants to show his full potential to us. While wiping my sweat with orange-colored cloth, “hot” scenes of Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado flashed in my troubled mind.

Last year when we covered Pikes Peak, the day before we visited this Dunes national park. When we first saw sand-dunes from distance, we were like, c’mon, we came too far to see this ? Dunes were looking like tiny sand mountains spread across considerably small region. But as we reached closer, we realized our misjudgment.

Dunes were so huge that people climbing on them were looking like ants carrying food on a slope. There was a long line of cars at the park entrance and as you might have guessed, parking was a big problem. We waited in the car close to 45 min, took the park ticket and to our luck, we got parking space after circling the lot for 2-3 times, when a great soul pulled out his car from the space (for us 🙂 ).

At the entrance, they have visitor center, consisting of informative material, food items (very basic) and models to represent the history of the park. By the way, it has the tallest sand dunes in North America. Dunes are visible from visitor center and one has to pass through Medano creek (Seasonal) to reach at the bottom of Dunes. Believe me, that was a delightful sight to see water just before sand dunes and that too ice-cold, our feet got numb.

I consider myself Athletic (others might disagree) and I love trekking. I have spent close to 5 years, trekking the famous forts from moderate to difficult level in Maharashtra, India. Sand dunes were totally a different experience all together.

3 things that makes trekking tough on Dunes

Sand : Movement on it, makes it really hard to proceed. Each step is an addition to the tiredness. Our calves and knees were burning too much while ascending.

Wind : It’s too windy out there and that too full of sand. It’s hard to see and proceed. Piece of Advice – Don’t go in shorts, I tried that and my legs were paining due to harsh rumbling of sand.

Slope : Last but not least is the slopes of Dunes which make it difficult to reach at pinnacle. But trekking is all about toughness and strength, so no complaints 😊

It took more than expected time to reach at the top of chosen dune (there are too many) and we were sweating, panting and smiling. Path may be difficult and painful but success always brings joy to the soul. We sat there and watched other ant-sized creatures climbing up.

After spending few minutes there (due to wind, not comfortable), we came down which was the easiest part. Many of the visitors were also involved in games like snowboarding which was fun to watch.

Nature always surprises me and will continue to do so. It was a memorable trip, even though hot and tiring but totally worth of it.

There is a restaurant at the exit of the national park where we had dinner before moving to our next destination.

#travel #photography

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