The dunes are constantly shifting and changing. Walking through them one day and coming back several weeks later you will find the landscape utterly and completely changed. In addition to the wind, water is at work shaping the dunes. A number of streams flow around the periphery of the dune field. These streams help “recycle” the sand by taking it from the eastern most extremes of the park back into the San Luis Valley where it can be picked up by the wind again and re-deposited.
(The pictures shown here were taken during our last visit to the Sand Dunes several years ago.)
The Sand Dunes were originally designated as a National Monument in 1932. In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed an act that set the Dunes on track to become Colorado’s newest National Park. After a lot of wrangling back and forth by Colorado’s congressional delegation, legislation was finally passed on September 13, 2004 designating the Dunes as a National Park. There was a tremendous amount of effort needed to get the Dunes designated as a National Park due to the fact that much of the land included in the park is the headwater of several large streams and rivers. These water resources have long been coveted by the growing cities of Colorado’s Front Range. By designating the Dunes a National Park, these water resources have been forever preserved so that no city can attempt to lay claim to them. The Park also includes one of Colorado’s 14’ers – Kit Carson Peak. This peak is one of the more difficult 14ers to climb but it does not have the fearsome reputation of two neighboring peaks – Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. These two peaks have the notoriety of usually killing at least one person every summer climbing season. Kit Carson and Crestones are definitely not the first 14ers that you would want to attempt climbing. Any visit to the Sand Dunes is a fun filled adventure of tromping over the countless dunes. One of our favorite activities is to climb to the highest dune we can reach and then to slide/jump our way down to the bottom. You have to come prepared to get sand in your shoes, down your pants – wherever – because you will! You need to be exceedingly careful with cameras, GPS and any kind of electronics that you take into the dunes. During a trip to the Dunes in 1998, I ruined a camera when I got sand in it. Hiking at the Sand Dunes is an adventure as there are no marked trails through the dunes. Any trail that is laid out is quickly covered over by the blowing sand. Thankfully it is hard to get lost as you can just climb to the top of a dune and see which way to go. Zack and I love our time at the Dunes. We plan on doing a couple of trips there this year. We are even planning to spend some time camping there over the summer. The campgrounds are great as they are only a short distance from the Dunes and have showers, which is really important given how sandy you can get! As for today’s happenings, we don’t have much going on at all. Zack is back at school today so that has made my day much easier. We are both heads down involved in work and school. After school Zack went to the after school program Willow Creek Cares For Kids. He didn't go during February as I was still working out his schedule at Sylvan. Now that the schedule is established he will go to WCCK once or twice per week. This evening we went to Park Meadows Mall to get his glasses repaired and then we ate dinner at the Food Court. We had Johnny Rockets for dinner - I don't really think that was the best idea we had all day! We brought Nancy - Patty's mom - a cheeseburger home for dinner. Now we are settling in for the night and Zack is getting ready for bed. We hope that all of our readers are doing well and that everyone had a great day! Thanks, and peace to all!