Great Sand Dunes

Mostly clear skies with a few blotchy looking storms are what the weather called for today. Suddenly we were in the midst of a nasty hail storm. It was coming down so hard the motorhome shook. The hail was only dime to nickel sized but it was like driving marbles on the road. Dad did an amazing job of getting us through it safely. We arrived in the desert at our “lush” campground. It was dry and barren. Thankful to be out of the snow and in the desert we went tobed looking forward to off road jeep adventures, hiking and exploring in the morning. We woke up to this! You have got to be kidding me!?We had some snowball fights. You can see the depth on the hood of the jeep. The ground was so warm it was melting quickly. We figures it was around 3-4 inches total overnight. Even Luna had icicles! We loaded up and headed into see the sand dunes. We couldn’t find them! They were blanketed with snow! A LOT of snow! Ugh! We took the off road jeep trail anyway. We slid around in the snow but the jeep handled it all very well. Dad was a great driver. Normally Mom drives the jeep but wasn’t feeling like she needed to drive this today! We forded a few smaller rivers but got to one we felt was a but deep and backed out and turned around. Glad we did because apparently the snowmelt caused the pass to be closed the next day. We sniffed the trees, they smelled like butterscotch. We walked out to see if we could get to the dues but the river was running a bit high for such a frigid day. More hiking and exploring needed to be done. It is so strange to see all the cacti blanketed with snow. Emmerson loved throwing snowballs at us, constantly! Dad and I hiked a longer trail back to the visitor center and Mom and E took the jeep, they saw a LOT of mule deer on the road. We earned our Jr Ranger badges and called it a day. The weather warmed up a little and the snow melted away. We could see the dunes in the morning. Dad had to work but we explored anyway without him. We hiked all over the dunes. The wind was quite strong and then temps were still in the low 50s. You have to go barefoot across the river to get to the dunes. We slid down, ran down, ran up and rolled down the dunes for hours. Mom almost lost sight of us once or twice!We left our shoes empty and 5 minutes later they were being burried and full of sand. The wind was whipping around a lot. We finsihed up and had to fact the river again, which was now a few inches higher. The water was near freezing and would come in pulses. You had to cross between the pulses or else the current was very strong for shallow water. Exhausted yet hungry for more we drove up to another hike but E got something in his eye and we had to reroute to town to get to the eye doctor!

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