Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

So within an hour of the kids being all done with school (30 minutes for Miles!) we were on the road.  We were going to the Great Sand Dunes for a couple of days.  It was just me (minus a tooth that was pulled the day before and so my mouth didn't feel so great . . .) and the kids.  I had reserved a campsite for two nights months ahead - as it fills up like a year before!  I was lucky to get the nights I did.  I wasn't planning on going the day school was out, but that was the only available slots and so I took it.  It worked out perfectly that it wasn't on the weekend because by Friday, that place was packed!

Anyways, we had a good drive listening to a great kids' book.  When we got to the Dunes, the kids got out and explored!  It was windy and Lucy did not like it at all.  Wind + pelting sand + Lucy = lots and lots of crying.  But she did have moments where she enjoyed it.

After we played around for a bit, we went to our campsite and set up camp and cooked our dinner and the kids explored the little creek in our campground area, and then we went to bed.  Lucy woke up screaming at 1:40am about her nightmare and spiders.  She was screaming so much and so loudly that I was scared she would wake up the entire campground.  I placed my hand around her mouth several times!  Finally I just held her and then she slept in my bag for a while.  It was crazy.

On Thursday we went and rented some sand-boards and sleds.  It was pretty fun, except that the wind was even worse on Thursday!  It was insane!  Poor Emmy rode the sled down once and got a bucket-load of sand in her eyes.  She couldn't open them for like 10 minutes.  It was sad.

After playing in the sand, we went back to our campsite and ate lunch.  Then back to the dunes to play in the creek - which only runs until like mid-June.  It was fun - but chilly as it was still super, super windy.  The wind and crying Lucy were frazzling my nerves and I might have lost all patience on Jonas at one point in time.  But we'll try and forget about that.

Finally we found a spot on the creek that was down river, out of the crowds (not that there was much) and out of the gusty wind.  There was a breeze, but I wouldn't even call it wind.  It was such a needed break out of that wind.  The kids just played for hours at that spot.  It was lovely.

Again, that night we cooked our dinner, ate s'mores, Miles made crazy flames with pinon needles (from branches that had fallen) and we put in the color-flame stuff and that was awesome, we played the Murder game, then went to bed.  Luckily no one had nightmares that night!

On Friday we just ate our breakfast and packed up camp.  One of our good friends was coming up that day and was hoping to find a campsite at the first-come, first-serve loop (our loop was the reservations loop).  I had walked around the night before and counted 16 sites that were vacating on Friday and so I told Heather (my friend who was coming) that it looked good for her to find something.  But as we were packing, the rangers came to our site and placed a 2-night open sign on it - someone had canceled!  I nagged it for my friend and we waited until they came.  The rangers then told Heather that the campgrounds had filled by 7am that morning and so it was just lucky that it worked out how it did!  Our kids played around the campsite for a bit, then we all ate lunch, then we went to the Dunes all together.  Heather's little kids couldn't quite handle the wind and so she found a different spot to hang out at.  But my 3 oldest and Holly (Heather's oldest) played on the Dunes for a bit.  Lucy and Lila played in the water.

Then I was ready to go and so we left - stopping by the cool Visitor's center on our way out.  We had a good drive home and drove in to our drive-way right as Ben was coming home from work.

It was fun camping, but that wind at the dunes was kind of hard to deal with.  Yes, I know that the dunes are there because of the wind.  But still.  :)

Pictures galore:
 On our way out, we stopped by the Morrow Point Dam.  This is about 30 minutes from our home, and basically on the way.  All four flood-gates were opened and gushing.  I guess this (opening of all four because of water levels) has only happened twice in the past 32 years.  It was our mini-Niagra Falls.  As you can tell by looking at the kids, it was chilly - and misty!  Pretty neat.  :)

 The boys ventured further down the road while the girls were scared the boys were going to drown and die.  Poor girls have their mother's worry-genes.  :)

 The Sand Dunes - so cool!

 Running on sand is the worst!  :)

 But jumping is the best!

 This was Miles' favorite activity - just jumping on the sand hills.

 The kids all climbing back up . . .

 Cute Lucy with Medano creek in the back.

 The boys were pretty great helpers in setting up the tent. (The girls then set up the inside - pads, bags, etc.)  The boys can do it all except for the last, crucial step.  :)

 Jonas was excited to get our fire going!

 Haha, this was lunch on Thursday afternoon.  The kids had bagels and yogurt.  Each yogurt lid had something different on it - perfectly, Miles' lid showed him how to make it in to an origami-like spoon.  Awesome.  (P.S.  Miles got a trim - not cut - on Saturday, in case you were wondering.)

 The girls had fun playing in the water!  The boys had fun, too, exploring all over!

 But then the girls would get too cold and have to come to the hot, hot sand.

 Ah, finally, a place in the dunes where we could escape the wind.  Lucy worked on this creation for hours it seemed.  She was really proud of herself and actually said, "I am really proud of myself."  :)

 Jonas found those sunglasses buried deep in the sand!  He also created what looked like a mini-Goblin Valley out of the sand!

 Emmy spent lots of time doing cartwheels in the sand.

 Miles made some pretty great sand creations, too.

S'more time!

 Miles and his smoke!  He took a box, filled it with pine needles, then turned it over and put it on the fire.  It was actually pretty cool.  :)

 The kids climbing a tree on our campsite!

Our last time at the Dunes - Emmy, Holly, Jonas, and a small Miles in the background.

It was a pretty great way to start out the summer, I think!

1 comment:

erinmalia said...

so cool! i think you have WAY more energy than I do. ha. do the dunes ever not have wind?