Last weekend, March 17th, 2018, I headed south through Colorado Springs, Past Pueblo, and past Colorado City to Highway 160 east. Then past La Veta and Fort Garland to the Great Sand Dunes National Park.
This one has been on my list for a very long time, and it did not disappoint. Who would ever expect the tallest dune in North America right in the middle of the Colorado Rockies?
The dunes cover an area of about thirty square miles. Sediments from the surrounding mountains filled the valley over geologic periods. After lakes within the valley receded, exposed sand was blown by the predominant southwest winds toward the Sangre de Cristos, eventually forming the dune field over an estimated tens of thousands of years.
I hiked around the park and up past the dunes and got mildly lost when I couldn’t find the trail after it dumped out into a parking area. I followed the road back until I got to the dunes.
One of the fascinating things was this abandoned cabin. I would love to know the story on it, but all I could find is that it could be the remains of a cabin built in 1875 by the Herard family, or it could be related to the Trujillo family homestead.
I didn’t climb the dunes; it was on the windy side and like walking through heavy snow. After hiking about six miles, it seemed like an excellent adventure to save for my next trip.
On the way home, I stopped in Fort Garland and had a late lunch at the Silver Sage Steakhouse. I highly recommend it.