Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado
May 19, 2015
Like most hotels, I had a rough night getting used to the cantankerous air conditioning unit switching on and off. Our neighbors had a housewarming party, it seemed.
The three of us, rubbing sleep from our eyes, went to the lobby for 'continental breakfast' which had a predictably limited selection. I cobbled together a peanut butter and butter toast-sandwich with a few cups of Styrofoam coffee. Under the television blaring a morning FOX program, we quietly finalized our plans.
We arrived at the Great Sand Dunes parking lot at 8:30 a.m.; everything was freshly wet from a night of rain.
Just beyond the parking lot in front of the dunes, a wide, pulsating river obstructed a clear path. Nearly a football field of ankle-deep water lay between us and the dunes; a surge flow. There didn't look to be any way around but through. We took of our shoes and socks and stashed them at the bank.
The water was beyond cold. Polar plunges, dares from high school friends, the Atlantic, every cold water event I had previously paled in comparison until today. The cold water lost its novelty immediately. Only shin-deep a few steps in and I found it difficult to breathe. I can't imagine falling through an iced-over lake.
We started to walk around and the sky kept getting darker. After another 10 minutes we bailed for the car, and a moment after crossing the frigid river once more, it began to pour. I had to towel off before getting into the car.
After nearly two weeks of being on the road, we made it safely to Eagle Nest. Tom aggressively shook my hand, like always; Vicky hugged me deeply, like always; Will did both, like always. The McKinney's cabin is beyond special, it feels so good to be back here once more—I am so lucky.
Everyone took a shady seat under one of the huge Ponderosas in the front yard. We shared stories from our journey and pet the many lounging dogs.
The Road Trip may have come to an end, but the start of summer is upon us.