The Great Snow Drift

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Yesterday's view from our campground near Great Sand Dunes National Park

Resting in a valley, surrounded by the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains, lies Great Sand Dunes National Park. We arrived here yesterday and were mesmerized by the scenery. The rolling dunes, framed by rugged snow-capped mountains, were like nothing we’ve ever seen. Shannon and I both felt like we stepped out of our car on to a different continent.

Although a brewing storm added dramatically to the atmosphere we were hoping for clear skies to improve visibility. This morning’s agenda included a 750 foot climb to the top of the dunes for a view of the park’s 330 square miles of rolling sand and, if we could procure a sandboard, surfing our way back down.

Mother Nature had different ideas. We awoke to find 4.5 inches of snow on the ground and near whiteout visibility; conditions more appropriate for staying in bed than for sightseeing. Maybe we should just trade the sandboard in for a sled.

Karma is indeed a boomerang. It’s only October 8 and we’re snowed in. I can’t help feeling this is payback for last year’s gloating.

The Great Sand Dunes Whiteout

This morning's view from our campground near Great Sand Dunes National Park

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8 Comments on “The Great Snow Drift”

  1. Atari October 11, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    What a difference a day makes with that snowfall! I really like that first photo; it’s very dreary, but in that romantic sort of way. Something about the grey skies against that terrain really speaks to how desolate it is out there: a fact that a lot of us seem to forget exists in the US.

    • Brian October 11, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

      Yeah, the weather and the lighting really changed dramatically over the course of even a couple of hours. I’m thinking of putting together a Monet style study in light with that same view shown at different times of the day.

  2. Drive. Hike. Click October 12, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Thanks for the pics… was able to actually show my travel companions that the sand dunes did in fact get snow over the weekend. We are headed there at the end of this week (from Texas) via the 4×4 road over Medano Pass.

    • Brian October 12, 2011 at 9:28 am #

      Neat trip! The Great Sand Dunes are awesome – you’re going to love it!

  3. KatiesCameraBlog October 15, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Great photos. I especially love the first one. Southern Colorado is gorgeous. Early snows though. Time to travel south for a while. :)

    • Brian October 16, 2011 at 9:20 am #

      How true. We’re making our way south and thought early October would be fine for this part of the country. We successfully avoided snow all last winter but not this time.

  4. mostlyberlining October 19, 2011 at 4:24 am #

    The top photo is stunning! Love it. It reminds me of a painting with the dusky ochre and grey colours…shame the snow obscured it all!

    • Brian October 19, 2011 at 8:35 am #

      That was a really amazing place. During the couple days we were there it never really looked the same – sometimes covered in mist, other times bright sunshine, and yet others blanketed by complete whiteout.

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