I adore our National Parks, they are some of my favorite places to retreat to, especially in trying times. Living next to Rocky Mountain National Park has been a treat that I still feel unworthy of receiving.
This summer I had to cancel a trip to Disneyworld and Florida, and my stepdaughter had all of her summer camps and day camps cancelled for safety concerns. This has meant that our summer has largely been at home for work, entertainment, and everything in between.
Feeling stuck and a little bored I decided we should take a mini trip and head south to the Great Sand Dunes National Park of which I had not visited in about 11 years and Lily had never been! So we packed up the car, got up at 3:00 a.m. and hit the road.
As Colorado goes, we hit a little bit of every weather possible, rain, sleet, hail, and SNOW even though it was mid-June! About six hours later we rolled into the National Park stopping for a sand sled rental, some photos at the entrance sign and a quick bathroom break.
My cousin and her family decided to meet us at the park and we spent the day playing in the sand like a bunch of lunatic kids.
The Sand Dunes are a massive phenomenon in the San Luis Valley that almost defies reality. Due to millions of years of erosion, the perfect winds, and what feels like magic, the dunes have collected into an ever-changing landscape of wonderment. As a child I was totally baffled by the dunes, my only experience with anything resembling a beach, and as an adult my wonderment is in how beautiful the area and dunes actually are.
Even though the day was cold, the wind was blowing, and it was even snowing when we arrived, we really did enjoy the day in the sand! What surprised me was my enjoyment of just sitting in a dune of sand and watching the wind change the environment. The sand had many layers of colors and details that I had no recollection of from previous travels, and the mountains seems all the most intense and stunning with a fresh blanket of snow.
Most distinctly was by about 2:00 p.m. the sun was coming out and the sand-scape changed again, drying out from its morning snow, and the mountains shrugged off their snowy coats. Remarkable and stunning is the best way to describe it all.
What I have found lately in revisiting places I knew as a child is how different it seems. As, in reality, I am not the same person I was when I visited last. My mind has seen more, I appreciate more, and I have grown to understand how lucky I am to be in Colorado. I hope if you visit you are touched by the beauty in a similar way.