We had a local’s inside knowledge (friend of the sis-in-law) to point us where to camp near the dunes. We set up near Zapata Falls to the south of the park and settled in for a gorgeous view of the San Luis valley for our first honest-to-goodness real night.
We hiked Zapata Falls and a bit further into the Aspen groves the following day. Due to my rusty camera skills the pics of the frozen falls didn’t turn out but we did see this extraordinary view of the dunes as the sun rose.
A pink sky greeted us on the third day and lasted for nearly the whole drive from the campground to the main road. It was the silver lining to the bumpy dirt ditches that Kate drew the unlucky short straw to commandeer the van.
Little did we know that the pup’s dream was to run around endless soft sand. She buried her head more times than necessary the odd scraggly stick that we found. I’m now convinced she’s a turkey and needed to refill the gizzard.
It was a deceiving hike to the top of the dunes. The tallest one stands some 750-odd feet off the valley floor; sand blown from winds coming over the San Juan mountains and funneling through the Sangre de Cristo range to the west has piled quite high!
Going to be hard to beat the first stop! After a hearty discussion on where to head next we decided that we had no clue. But we’re certain it’s New Mexico so we’ll just follow the points of interest on our way down!