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sign: Welcome to Great Sand Dunes National Park

The two RV Gypsies at the
Great Sand Dunes National Park
in Colorado

August 31, 2012

The tallest dunes in North America are the centerpiece in a diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and tundra.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is a United States National Park located in the San Luis Valley, in the easternmost parts of Alamosa County and Saguache County, Colorado. Originally created as Great Sand Dunes National Monument on March 17, 1932, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve was established by an act of the United States Congress on September 13, 2004. The park includes 44,246 acres and the preserve protects an additional 41,686 acres. It is the newest of the United States National Parks.

 

View from the Visitor's Center - there is a short easy trail at the visitor's center - plus a sign that names the mountains seen from the Visitor's Center

sign about the Sand Sheet Loop trail
sign naming the mountain ranges
panorama of the sand dunes

The park contains the tallest sand dunes in North America, rising about 750 feet from the floor of the San Luis Valley on the western base of the Sangre de Cristo Range, covering about 19,000 acres. Researchers say that the dunes started forming less than 440,000 years ago. The huge dunes comprise about 11 percent of an enormous sand deposit that covers more than 330 square miles.

view of the sand dunes from the Visitor's Center
zoom in on the sand dunes to see the contours

The dunes were formed from sand and soil deposits of the Rio Grande and its tributaries, flowing through the San Luis Valley. Over the ages, westerly winds picked up sand particles from the river flood plain. As the wind lost power before crossing the Sangre de Cristo Range, the sand was deposited on the east edge of the valley. This process continues, and the dunes are slowly growing. The wind changes the shape of the dunes daily.

sand dunes as seen from the Visitor's Center

It was a short drive from the Visitor's Center to the sand dunes.

sign: Welcome to Great Sand Dunes National Park
sign: entering Great Sand Dunes Wilderness

It did not look like a long walk to reach the sand dune, but the sand was very soft, and it was a difficult walk through the soft sand to reach the dunes, so the two RV Gypsies took their time. The two RV Gypsies will never return to this National Park because it does not offer enough entertainment or scenery.

Lee Duquette at Great Sand Dunes National Park on the dunes
Lee Duquette at Great Sand Dunes National Park on the dunes
people on the sand dunes
sand and lots of it
Karen Duquette approaching the sand dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park
The two RV Gypsies  approaching the sand dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park

The two RV Gypsies finally made it to the first sand dune and decided that was far enough. their feet kept sinking deep into the sand with every step, which made it just too tiresome to go any further. When the two RV Gypsies decided to go to this National Park, they thought there were dune buggies for rent to ride through the dune, but this is no longer true, and that may be just as well because Lee probably should not be riding a dune buggy at this time.

Lee Duquette approaching the sand dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park
Karen Duquette's foot sinking into the sand
sand dunes  approaching the sand dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park
Karen Duquette approaching the sand dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park
Karen Duquette approaching the sand dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park
Karen Duquette approaching the sand dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park

The two RV Gypsies in-between two
large sand dunes.

A gentleman helped Karen climb up
the soft sand dune.

The two RV Gypsies in-between two large sand dunes.
A gentleman helps Karen climb up the soft sand dune.
sand dunes
sand dunes and Karen Duquette

Two very tired RV Gypsies - walking in soft sand is harder than it looks. And they didn't even get past the first dune. Lee took a break and sat down in the sand, then had trouble getting up again.

Two very tired RV Gypsies
Lee having trouble getting up out of the sand
 

The two RV Gypsies heard about a great waterfall nearby that people can walk under, so they took a ride to see it. The dirt road was the worst dirt road they have ever been on. Bumpy and barely room at times for cars to pass. It was a very miserable drive, but once committed to the drive, it was impossible to turn around.

a very nasty dirt road
beauty alongside the dirt road

It took about half an hour to get to the waterfall site, only to find out that there was a 1/2 mile trail to the waterfall. The two RV Gypsies took one look at the rocky, steep trail and decided NOT to go see the waterfall.

sign: welcome to Zapata Falls
sign: Zapata Falls

The sign and the rocky, steep trail to the falls. One look is all it took for the two RV Gypsies to return to their car and drive back down that horrible dirt road.

sign about the Zapata Falls trail and parking
the nasty, rocky, steep trail to Zapata Falls
 

Great Sand Dunes Oasis RV Campground

entrance to Great Sand Dunes Oasis RV Resort
entrance to Great Sand Dunes Oasis RV Campground

The RV of the two RV Gypsies in their new yard by the entrance of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and views from their RV.

The RV of the two RV Gypsies
The RV of the two RV Gypsies
The RV of the two RV Gypsies
view of the sand dunes from the yard of the two RV Gypsies
view of the sand dunes from the yard of the two RV Gypsies

the mountains behind the RV of the two RV Gypsies

the mountains behind the RV of the two RV Gypsies
the mountains behind the RV of the two RV Gypsies
the mountains behind the RV of the two RV Gypsies

Notes about the Great Sand Dunes Oasis RV Resort: No TV at all - No Wi-Fi - No pool - dirt/gravel sites - but Great Scenery - there is a small playground, showers and Laundry (The two RV Gypsies never use showers or laundry at RV Resorts or campgrounds). Not a favorite RV Resort of the two RV Gypsies.

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