Thursday, September 28, 2017

BFFRVV Day 15 - Great Sand Dunes National Park

When I woke up on this day, I. Felt. Miserable. I was in tears from exhaustion (I felt like I'd woken up about a hundred times in the night), my head and chest hurt, I had sweats, and my throat felt like I was swallowing knives. Philip looked in my mouth and confirmed that my tonsils looked pretty bad. After a shower and some Motrin, I felt a little more like greeting the day.

I was able to take a nap on the way to the Sand Dunes.   (Full disclosure:  This was the one day of our trip that I wasn't very excited about.   I don't love sand in my shoes, or blowing sand, or being hot, or walking up hill in sand.... (do you see a theme here?) 

Fortunately, the sand dunes looked gorgeous (and rather innocent in these photos) and it was quite cool, not hot, so that helped a lot!

We looked around the Visitor's Center for a bit and then drove to the parking lot where you start hiking from.   Almost immediately, we had to cross a river (but it was nearly dried up, so it involved hopping and jumping over small areas of flowing water and trying to choose the most firm patches of wet sand to step on).

We had rented a couple of "sand sleds" and Philip and Keenan carried those for us.  This proved to be one of the best investments of the trip =)

Caleb's first time trying it out!

There he goes!

Keenan very quickly looked like this

I'm not exactly sure what is going on in this picture, but I like it 
(the man in the background is the one who took this next picture for us)

What a different landscape than what we had been seeing in previous days!

It was quite windy (although it didn't really blow sand in our faces, just kept trying to blow my hat off).  We had the camera in a zip lock bag to protect it, though.   Walking uphill in the sand was not fun, especially when the sand was really soft.    I decided to go barefoot and carry my shoes, which ended up being (one of) my best decisions of the day!  (the other one comes up soon).

THAT's more like it!!  (I LOVE sand between my toes when they're not inside my shoes!!)

I decided to give the sand sled a try and Caleb came with me:

Desperately hoping I don't regret this!

Even with a push from Philip we didn't go very far or fast.   There.  I tried it, I didn't get sand anywhere that sand shouldn't be.  I stopped while I was ahead. =)

Philip's intent was to reach the top and I had no intention of doing that, but kept climbing as far as I felt okay to do so (definitely wasn't up to my full potential, being sick).  We finally reached a point (about 3/4 of the way up) where I felt done and so while they went on ahead I found a relatively flat spot out of the wind, sat down, made myself comfortable and watched them climb the rest of the way.  Shortly after they left me, I had a brief pang of regret and stood up and grabbed my water bottle and almost followed but.... then thought "No way, I don't want to keep climbing in the sand!  What am I thinking?? I'm perfectly happy right here, having a quiet break by myself!"  So I sat back down, set Keenan's hiking boots to put my head on, laid back and enjoyed a Glorious rest in the warm sun, watching proudly as my family climbed to the highest peak we could see.  (It ended up being the second highest, but they had no desire to climb further once they got there!)  Interestingly I could hear their voices quite clearly all the way to the top, though they couldn't hear me.

Philip took these next few as they climbed:
Ha!   I think Caleb looks like an old man here!

Keenan and Moriah at the top, ready to slide

Caleb felt that it was too steep and opted to slide down on his bottom =)
(Look at those beautiful mountains in the distance!)

There they go!

Starting to get a sand wake going!
(I'm the speck by the arrow!)

Look how far they went!

So beautiful!

I really like this one that Philip took, and those two people silhouetted on the right

Sand, sand, sand...

Caleb being hilarious...

Okay, now to the real sand sledding... (the fun part for them was that on the way back, they could get down the dunes a lot faster and with a lot less walking, by sledding down almost every slope!)  I was quite happy to run down and catch up.

Look at Keenan's tongue! =)

Notice Moriah's eyes clenched shut


Caleb taking a break from the sun

Philip after his first sledding experience (this right here, folks, that's why I don't sand sled!) since it involved turning around and sledding backwards for a bit before being thrown off and rolling head over heels for a bit trying to keep the sled from hitting him in the head

I asked him not to get too close in this one - ha!

I Love this shot of them getting ready to set off down a steep slope

There he goes again (after admitting that "This is so stupid!!")

He was carrying three pairs of shoes/boots, which definitely caused drag

These pictures make me so happy because they were having SO much fun!!

Keenan got Really good at steering!

That was a Long run!

Caleb and Daddy!

Look at that smile!!

I left this one un-cropped of Keenan and Moriah at the top because I just love how it shoes how far away they were and how steep these dunes could be!

Here they come!
(I told them to aim for me)

At this point, Keenan shouted, "Mama, get out of the way!"

They were Moving!!

I took two of these and Caleb was calmly standing there with his eyes closed in both (what a stinker)

He took this one!  Didn't he do a great job??

It was getting chilly and there were rain clouds moving in as we finished walking back to the RV, so it was a good time to be done.  It actually started raining as Philip and the kids were cleaning off, but I (and my non-sandy self) was warm and dry inside the RV!  ;-P

When we got to the campground, the first order of business was showers for Everyone!  After Moriah showered (and left a Ton of sand in the RV shower)... I was combing her hair and saw that there was still So much sand on her scalp, so I made her get back in and washed and washed and scrubbed...and got a Lot more sand out, but it was still going to take the next several showers to get it all out... Yeesh!  (Have I mentioned why I didn't sand sled more than once?)  =)  I told her next time we do that, she needs to wear a swim cap ;)

Next we had dinner, played Dutch Blitz and then Ticket to Ride, Europe edition (my first time!)   Moriah and I played as a team and had a blast!

Caleb took this picture for us from his perch in the top bunk

...where he was drawing this masterpiece =)

By this time we were getting ready to be Home!

1 comment:

Mom W. said...

Wow, that is one BIG sand box!!!! I am with you on the sand!!! Don't want it on me or too near me!!!