I drove across the Rocky Mountains with my new friend Dan, whom I met in Moab after a couple beers at the Blues Bar the night before. He was planning to head to Denver, and I decided to follow him back. I had been a little nervous about crossing the Rocky Mountains. If I-70 got snow, which was very possible in October, that journey could become quite treacherous. But the weather looked great, and it was good to have a travel buddy to cross the mountains with. Meeting people while traveling is fun, and it helped to have somebody to follow across the Rocky Mountains.
The drive was awesome. We stopped in a cool mountain town for lunch. Dan randomly picked cool places to stop and check out Colorado. I forgot that other people hadn’t spent as much time in this state recently as I had. On one stop, we wandered over to the Colorado river. There were people kayaking and doing other cool outdoor activities in the river. It just reminded me how much I love Colorado and its ever pervasive outdoor active lifestyle.
We eventually split up after Denver as he continued East to Missouri. Although I had been sad to leave Arizona and Utah, it did feel really good to be back in Colorado. I ended up going south from Denver to check out The Great Sand Dunes National Park.
This was exciting! Sand Dunes was the third of four Colorado National Parks that I was visiting! I drove by Colorado Springs on the way down, and once again wanted to go explore it. But I decided to save that for another time. As I got closer, the Colorado Mountains climbed up before me. But here they seemed brown and diferent.
I finally got to the national park. In the distance the Rockies loomed above me. Before them were huge piles of brown sandy mountains. They were smaller than the actual mountains in the distance, but they were still massive.
This was pretty cool to see! I did a beginner hike that took me along the entrance and gave some cool views of the sand dunes and the dirty brown mountains beyond. But I needed to get closer. So after that, I drove the road down to the actual Sand Dunes.
There was a very long sandy stretch of flat land that I had to cross just to get to the dunes. It was like a long beach, or a even a desert. I had underestimated what a pain it is to walk in sand, so this took a while. I slowly got closer and the dunes towered above me. I saw some people climbing up them, and I briefly considered climbing them myself. Ok, let’s be honest. I didn’t really even consider it. Just walking along the flat sandy stretch had been a pain. I wasn’t feeling great today and the thought of trying to slowly make my way up a giant mountain made out of sand sounded pretty horrible.
It’s possible that I didn’t give the Dunes a fair chance. It really was cool to see, but I didn’t feel like climbing up them. I wasn’t very interactive with this national park. I wondered if there was more to do here than just walk up a giant sand mountain. Were there events and activities to better enjoy it? Four wheelers or something you could drive up there in? I don’t know. Probably.
I was satisfied with my brief visit to this National Park. I left and headed back up north on I-25 until it started getting dark. I stopped in Colorado Springs, which was perfect. At the start of my trip, I had promised myself that I would come back to this town and explore more.
The next morning I began to explore Colorado Springs. This started with an oil change, and some time at Starbucks. I decided to explore “Garden of the Gods”.
Garden of The Gods is a big park in Colorado Springs. This place is awesome! There are tons of trails, and these giant boulders in the middle of it. Apparently there were a lot of dinosaur findings here.
There were a ton of people who were rock climbing on these giant boulders. I wanted to go get my rock climbing gear from my car, but apparently you needed a permit to climb here. Not that I could really climb alone anyway. But man, seeing people rock climb once again reminded me how much I loved the active outside lifestyle of Colorado.
It was a good day to explore Colorado Springs. I had liked the city the first time I came here, and now that I realized there was this huge awesome park in the middle of it, I loved it even more!