Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Getting to the Great Sand Dunes

Today was mixed. I'll explain. 

We started the morning with a great two  hour horseback ride from elk point lodge. The staffs was so nice, which matters on this type of activity. We had a great guide take us up into the mountains a little bit  then back along the lake. 
We then headed out for The Great Sand Dunes National Park. We ended up using the wolf creek pass on highway 160. The van did not care for this pass at all. This was definitely the hardest pass we have ever tried.  It started at around 7,800 hit the top at 10,856 the Continental divide. The van over heated twice on us. But I stopped 5 times to try and keep us from causing any issues. We crused up the mountain at 10-15mph And stopped every half mile for 10-15 minutes just to be sure it was cool. To make us feel better there were a lot of cars that had to do the same. After the top we then coasted down the mountain, rarely having to use the gas at all, and that really cooled the vans heart down. 
We then made it the rest of the way to Great Sand Dunes. Hit up the visitors center and talked to a ranger about the next day's activities. 
We then went to the campsite only to find they were full, I guess this place is more popular than I thought. I found a BLM campsite only a half hour away. We hit the road, and what a rough road it was. Once we got off the highway it was only 4 miles north, but Google maps said that it would take 25 minutes to get there. About 5 minutes in, I realized that was probably correct; the road was switchbacks and washed out with decent  sized rocks. But we made it up and found a great site with a spectacular view of the valley. 
We set up camp and made some delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with Chelsea's special birthday beer from ska brewing. 
 Today had it's stressful points but was still a great day. Tomorrow we hit the slopes(of sand).


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