dunes by moonlight

by mo on 07/19/2008

For the past day (5pm Friday – 5pm Saturday), I was able to explore some awesome Colorado things, thanks to the suggestion of David and the cooperation of Dale (I had to be picky about no difficult hikes, etc.) Anyway, Angela, Casey, Dale and I departed, dropped off a raft in the happening metropolis of Fort Garland, ate dinner at a place that seemed to be flustered that there were more than 2 tables full… and caught this sunset:

By nightfall we made it to the sand dunes, and found an unoccupied campsite. After setting up camp, we went out to the dunes — miles and miles of sand. Pretend you are looking at mountains. Except no, they’re now made of sand. That’s what it was like and it was AWESOME. We saw the moon rise, and by moonlight we hiked the sand, the four of us literally the only people out.

We didn’t make it quite to the summit dune, but got to the top of a fairly tall one (certainly 500+ feet) by walking on ridges mostly, and Casey+Dale doing a lot of waiting for me to catch up. Everything was all lit up by the moon, great shadows, but unfortunately no pictures — please just add this to your to-do list: sand dunes, full moon, midnight. We didn’t have any sleds or cardboard to sled down the sand either, so once we topped out, we just ran down the steep slope, essentially tumbling down. Dale and Casey had run down to Angela and from where I was standing, they were tiny specks. Then, I ran down to them, and they ran down again until they were tiny specks. This repeated again, at which point we were finally down to the dune foothills. I couldn’t even believe how far we had climbed up, based on how long running down took. Crazy. Definitely the coolest thing I have seen in Colorado so far.

This morning, we went out again to the dunes, but not to hike them (way too hot+sunny+crowded). Instead we played in the river that is created by melting snow off the nearby mountains:

Sand dunes, you can see the people hiking up:

Diverting the course of the river. Curiously, this also diverted the course of the tourists, who wanted to be in the water.

Dam[n] maintenance!

Next we saw the nearby Zapata falls. Seeing the actual falls would have required more climbing on wet rock than I was prepared for, so my photos are a little insufficient. Sorry.

Shoes of my companions, walking through to see the falls.

The last place we visited was Bishop Castle, which is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. So basically this dude decided to build a castle all by himself, and all he does is build it and have tons of tourists showing up.

View from one of the towers:

The signs say “enter at your own risk” for a reason… don’t fall down.

Also, since it’s all unfinished, you get random ladders hanging off stuff, bridges that drop off:

It was crowded:

Seriously dude, wtf.