Great Sand Dunes National Park

By: Gaines Roberts + Save to a List

There's sand in my boots

Let’s start off with saying… we were not prepared for the cold weather at the beginning of August in Colorado. It was absolutely freezing. We started our twenty-five hour drive from Atlanta, Georgia to Great Sand Dunes National Part at four in the morning. We drove a steady and consistent 25 hours, occasionally stopping at Whataburger to grab food, until we reached the entrance of the national park at five in the morning. We were exhausted and in desperate need for sleep. Personally, I was thinking to sleep for a few hours then go hike the sand dunes, but my friends had another idea. They wanted to sleep for 45 min then hike to the top to watch the sun rise. Knowing that I was out numbered 1-3, I gave in and “rested” for a few minutes.

Slowly, light began to seep in through the windows, so I knew it was about time to get out of the van and start our first adventure. I got a total of zero minutes of sleep. I simply just laid on my back, and stared at the roof of the van. As I opened the door, I was shocked at how cold it was outside. I failed to bring a single long sleeve shirt or sweat shirt on this trip. So, I grabbed the only pair of pants I brought, my rain jacket, and chacos and started to hike to the top of the dunes with my buddies.

The dunes seem like a simple and easy hike from a long was out, but as you get closer, you realize that they are bigger than you could ever expect. Try just climbing up the first one and then you will realize that you needed to be prepared for it. We hiked to the top of the first big dune and just sat down to breath and take in all that was around us. We had our Rumpl blanket with us so we were able to spread it out and sit on it as the sun rose of the nearby mountains. As soon as that sun hit the peak of the mountains, It blinded us as the sand acted like glass for the light to bounce off of. That was the moment that I knew this was going to be one of the coolest experiences of my life. There was not a single person around us or on the sand dunes yet. It felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. We walked around and took pictures of the area around us so that we would never forget what we came to do.

After a little while of soaking in the scenery, we started to goof off and run down the hills as fast as we could… sometime falling on our faces. We wanted to find a board that we could use to slide down the dunes on but like I said, “There was not a single person around.” We hiked down the sand dunes until we reached the van, and started to realize that we have sand literally in every part of our bodies (i’m pretty sure there is still sand in the van). We shook what we could off, all hopped in the van, and drove off to our next stop (Literally as we were driving off, we saw a little family that had three snowboards…smh).

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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