Sand meets Mountains

Hearing the rain all night was actually calming. We woke up early and packed up. We chatted with the guy next to us who is also an educator. He is a physics teacher in Flagstaff. He had hiked all the back country routes the day before and didn’t wear sunscreen. We shared our aloe vera with the crispy fellow. While we were packing up we found a hitchhiker and probably another reason that lady may have been yelling the night before. It was the biggest millipede or centipede I have ever seen in my life! My brother used to have the Creepy Crawly set where you make your own gummy bugs and I swear there was a mold for this kind of creature. After the kids saw it, we sent it on its way. We checked out the Chacoan ruins that morning. First, we hiked a trail to check out some petroglyphs. Yet again to hear the kids’ interpretation of what they meant was classic. Korey was the one with a keen eye and was spotting obvious petroglyphs and ones a little more obscure. 

We went a little ways to check out one of the bigger sites, Pueblo Bonito. They didn’t actually speak Spanish but the first people to describe what they were seeing were the Spaniards. Jud was super pumped as this is some of the material he covers in his course on Ancient History. It was incredible to imagine the civilization in its prime at this site. Pueblo Bonito was used for community purposes, not many lived there, it was more of a central meeting place for ceremonies, burials, clan gatherings, and much more. The kids loved wandering through the site and getting lost in the maze of rooms. The doorways were short and narrow, Eli size for sure. He was the only one that didn’t have to “dunk” (duck) down as he said. At one point I hid beside one door way and as Noah can blazing through I scared him, oh, you should have seen his face! 

I took the kids on to the car and let Jud soak everything in. He also went a little further and checked out a much smaller site, Pueblo del Arroyo. The kids were spent, although Eli kept pointing out the remains of houses along the way. 

We headed down a dirt road and on to Colorado. We drove through Dulce, New Mexico and thought of our silly beagle.

We ascended to about 10,000 feet above sea level as we navigated the mountain roads of Colorado. It was so nice to be back in the mountains. I love the cool air, the lush green trees, the raging rivers, definitely more my style. 

Upon our arrival into the Great Sand Dunes National Park, you could see the dunes off in the distance. It was mind blowing, to see mountains in the backdrop of these gigantic dunes! We hiked a couple of the dunes but the wind was super strong and would pick up the sand and beam it at the back of you legs. Poor little Eli with such sensitive skin was struggling, between Jud, Noah and myself we would rotate giving him a piggy back ride. 

It was just incredible to be hiking in sand dunes, in Colorado, in July! This was probably one of my favorite places yet! 

We were fortunate enough to find a camp site in the park, because we hadn’t made reservations. The Mosca Outpost hooked us up with fixings for dinner and we were able to use up the mountain pie stuff.  

The kids loved wandering through the campsite and climbing trees and spotting deer. We have seen 6 deer and one little baby with its spots.

The gentleman across from us is a retired principal from Texas. He is celebrating his retirement with a “cruisin” on his motorcycle. He had a small posse of really nice guys. They rolled out a little before us.

We were very reluctant to leave this beautiful and interesting place, but we are now headed towards home.