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Journeys Through America is a nonprofit organization providing educational material for all school-aged children across the country. The program will form partnerships with local school districts to provide children with a new, interactive, educational experience integrating the history of America and its National Parks. Journeys Through America's goal is to foster a fun and adventurous learning environment that will promote altruistic growth within our children and our greater community.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

By Jul 30th 2010 No Comments »

After the drive through New Mexico, we arrived at the much anticipated Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. Originally designated Great Sand Dunes National Monument, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve was created in 2004. As we drove across Southern Colorado, the outline of the dunes slowly came into our view, with the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains rearing behind them. This breathtaking view will be engraved in our brains for years to come.

The dunes sprawl across part of Southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Over millions of years, streams and creeks flowing out of the San Juan Mountains carried gravel and sand into shallow lakes in the San Luis Valley. During drought periods these lakes dried, and the strong southwesterly winds carried the tiny grains toward the Sangre de Cristos Mountains, resulting in the tallest dunes in North America. Some rising about 750 feet and 12,000 years old.

We wasted no time in exploring this natural wonder and after seeking advice from the rangers at the visitors center we were ready to explore. We began on the Montville Nature Tail and ended alongside the Medano Creek, which meanders along the base of the dunes. Here, we watched hundreds of families build sandcastles, splash and enjoy the cool relief from the creek. A typical beach environment with the extraordinary backdrop of the dunes and mountains. A picturesque sight.

We laid our heads just outside the park at the Great Sand Dunes Lodge and Campground. A spacious campground laid out on a dirt mountain. This campground offered lots of availability but a tough trek up the terrain not having four wheel drive.

We awoke early Friday morning to tackle a hike into the dunes. Before this adventure, we treated ourselves to renting sand boards. A “snowboard” for sand: a prize for our enjoyment after making the haul up the massive sand dunes. After a few steps into the dunes we quickly learned that walking in the soft sand is more strenuous than we thought. Even with all the previous hikes we had conquered this was a difficult feat. After an hour of strategically angling up the ridge line of the dunes we decided to test our boards! Ashley, a surfer and snowboarder was more ready and awaiting the thrill down the steep sand. After a few moments of hesitation and watching Ash cruise down the dune I gave it a go. For the next hour or so, we enjoyed surfing down the dunes. An experience neither of us ever foresaw in our lifetime.

After many laughs, spills and a beautiful background we were ready for our next stop, Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado.




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