June 8-9, 2021 The Great Sand Dunes National Park

We headed out from Pagosa Springs late the next morning on our way to the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  Along the way, we crossed Wolf Pass and the Continental Divide.  There was still some snow on the mountain so we had to stop and play in the snow for a bit.  Olivia got a little bit of extra knowledge learning about the Continental Divide.  This is a great example of our idea of Worldschooling.  Olivia learned about the Continental Divide not by reading about it in some book but by standing on it.  She got big eyes as I explained to her that all rivers starting from her left foot side of the line went to the Pacific Ocean and all rivers starting from the right foot side of the line went to the Atlantic.  I think that really drove home what a Continental Divide was.

Holly really likes sand dunes and the Great Sand Dunes National park has some of the largest in North America at up to 750 feet high.  Unlike White Sands which is made of Gypsum, the Great Sand Dunes is made of regular tan silicon sand, the remnants of a huge lake which dried up over 440,000 years ago and all of its sand was blown up against the Sangre de Christo mountains.  The main thing about the huge sand dunes was that you can sled down them so we rented a rather expensive sled which cost $25 a day.  The day was overcast and warm and we arrived almost 5 PM.  Interestingly enough to get from the parking lot to the sand dunes we had to cross a very shallow but wide stream.  The water was warm but only ankle deep and there were many kids playing in the stream.  We splashed through the stream and headed for the sand dunes towering above us about a half mile away.  Once we got to the sand dunes we had to climb up the sand dune before sliding down.  It takes over 3 hours to climb to the top of the highest sand dune so we settled for the short 50 foot foothills.  This proved plenty high for sledding which was great fun but it was exhausting carrying the sled back up the hill as there were no lifts.  We stayed until the sun went down and it got cold really fast.  Crossing the stream was a literal pain as the absence of the warming sun meant the water was now freezing cold. Our feet literally hurt as we crossed the stream.

Back in Rover we left the park and drove to some BLM land about 20 minutes away to spend the night.  We were in the middle of the desert and we stayed up late to enjoy the spectacular view of the stars before going to sleep. The next morning we returned to the Great Sand Dunes.  Olivia didn’t want to climb sand dunes and I didn’t want to climb sand dunes carrying a sled multiple times so we spent the day at the shallow stream while Holly took the sled to have some me time on the slopes.  Olivia had a great day building dams and pools in the stream with the other kids for the entire day.  We left in the late afternoon and drove to Colorado Springs where we found a great parking spot at a Bass Pro Shop.






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