Day 21. Great Sand Dunes National Park.

7/20/16

Ate some breakfast and then walked to the airport where the rental car service is. Luckily the airport is only about a mile walk from the hostel. I wait there until they open and then drive back to the hostel in my fancy car. I pick up M&M and drive him back to the trail, which just so happens to be on the way to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, somewhere I’ve always wanted to see. Along the way I pick up a hitch hiker just out of Gunnison and turns out he’s a hiker I met weeks earlier who’s also heading to the same trailhead! We talk about all the animals and other things we’ve seen along the trail. Once we get to the trailhead I say farewell to M&M and the other hiker (who’s name now escapes me). 

Once I’m back in the car and heading to the dunes I listen to all my favorite songs and get pumped up for the dunes. I can see them in the distance, almost 50 miles away, as a pile of tan mountains just below a huge mountain range. 

At the park I fill up on water and check out visitors center. I have to get to the highest dune, Star Dune. A pile of sand 750 feet tall! From the visitors center you have to cross a river to get to the dunes. At this time of year it’s just several disconnected small streams that occasionally disappear below the sand. Dozens of people are playing in the creek and at the base of the dune field, but only a handful of people are up on the higher peaks. 

This little grasshopper has adapted well to the dunes! Unique places almost always have unique plants and animals inhabiting them.

Other insects were just dead in the dunes. Likely blown there and roasted. I’ve seen a similar situation on glaciers and snowfields. 
The walk up the dunes is extremely exhausting, way more so than I would have thought. Every step you slide back, the ground is uneven and it just drains your energy. But once I got up high and away from everyone I had the dunes and the view all to myself. The environment was surreal. I could have been on any terrestrial world. Just rock and sky. 

If you ever get a chance to visit this place I highly recommend it. What a great place to think about our place in the world and the universe. 

Once my fun in the dunes was over I went back to Golden, CO and hung out with Guthrie and stayed at his house for the night (Thanks again Guth!) My Colorado adventure ends here. Until next time! 

Sheriff Woody

Day 20. Goodbye and LoungingĀ 

7/19/16

Woke up and had to say bye to my hiker family. The ladies all left early in the morning. It was a sad goodbye, but I hopefully we will cross hiking paths again someday! M&M is hanging around until the afternoon when he wants to head out.

Most of the day I just watch movies and hang out with other hikers and catch up on my blog. In the afternoon M&M decided he’s just going to stay another night because the weather looks bad overnight. No need to spend a night in cold rain. I also stay another night and rent a car for tomorrow.