Monday, June 23, 2008

Great Sand Dunes National Park

So after we loaded the tents that we really could have never put up in the first place, our tired eyes, weary bones and hungry bellies were on the road. As we left the campground and rounded a curve we found some more hungry bellies.


I totally just noticed that the tree on the right looks like it has a huge mouth open ready to eat those deer. Look out deer! Run for your lives! You totally see it too, don’t you?

Due to the change in plans, aka skipping the Royal Gorge, we had some time to do something else, now what would that be? As we sat around the campfire the night before we noticed that the Great Sand Dunes National Park was only about a mile away, or 100 miles as the car drives - ok, I exaggerate. But hey, why not. Sand dunes, here we come.



Don’t let those mountains fool you, those dunes are huge. In fact, they are the tallest dunes in North America. You can hike all over the dunes; all 30 square miles of them. There aren’t trails, you just take off wherever you wish. And I thought it was really cool that they even have a couple of wheelchairs you can borrow that have huge wheels and go in the sand.


To get to the dunes you have to wade across Medano Creek. It’s not deep but nice and cool, relaxing. There are even little rippling waves that splash over your toes, they call this phenomenon “Surge Flow” (and yes I totally took that from the visitor’s guide).


Dennis and Haden decided to hike up the dunes, I decided to keep my feet cool in the creek and look for birds. But, I took this little point and shoot back to the car and pulled out the big guns (aka huge honking lens).


Immediately, this little sparrow posed for me.



He was just so cute I kept snapping. But finally I moved along.



I know these last two pictures aren’t the best but I’m hoping someone can tell me what kind of bird that is. He was bigger than the sparrow, mostly gray, with a little reddish/brown top fluff. Looked like his wings and tail were kind of a yellowy olive green?


This is the back of one of those red eyed birds I showed you a few days ago. There seemed to be as many of them as there were magpies.


Speaking of Magpies, look who’s coming.


I guess he needed to cool his feet too.


Crocs even work at the dunes. Ahhhh, refreshingly cool water. (Dennis took this one, he came back early from their hike and together we waited in the water for Haden.)



Then he was off in a flash.


Just in time for one tired Haden to return. He made it about halfway up the dunes and headed back. He said for every little bit you go up you have to go back down before you can go up again, like rolling waves, and he got pretty hot up there. The tallest dune is 650’ high.


  1. OMG that is just awesome! I would love to visit there some day. I never even knew we had sand dunes..I feel like I need to go back to school..wait a minute, they don't teach that in school. Shouldnt' there be a class on North American places and things to see??

  2. These are awesome. I'm really enjoying this virtual tour. When you're done, please consider doing an overview post on the travel path you took and how long it took. I'd love to plan a trip like this someday and check out a ton of national parks.

  3. Fantastic shots, Lisa! So glad you have your Huge Honkin' Lenses with you for these spectactular bird shots. Those dunes don't look so huge until you put a human speck next to them!

  4. anglophilefootballfanatic.comJune 24, 2008 at 8:47 AM

    My goodness I love the one of the bird in flight. And, the dunes? Amazing.

  5. I love sand dunes. I have only visited them once before, but they are so fascinating. Great bird photos also.

  6. [...] about a seminar he’s conducting in Taos, New Mexico, in June of next year. I’d read a blog post about Great Sand Dunes National Park at Lisa’s Chaos a few months ago, so when Larry told us [...]