This month, let's move a little further south to the San Luis Valley and the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) mountain range to the tallest sand dunes in North America.
The GREAT SAND DUNES National Park
|The Great Sand Dunes - showing perspective w/people|
Well, Mr. Pike was at it again. This time, he set his sights on the sand dunes in the San Luis Valley. His journals were the first known writings about the dunes, although several Native American tribes and Spanish explorers had previously passed by them in centuries prior. In fact, there is evidence in this area of nomadic hunters from as far back as the prehistoric bison and mammoth era.
|Great Sand Dunes | White Mountains | Medano Creek|
|"Surge flow" of Medano Creek at Great Sand Dunes|
As Lewis & Clark's expedition was coming to a close, Lieutenant Pike was commissioned to explore the area along the Arkansas and Red Rivers. He traveled west from modern-day Pueblo, Colorado, and crossed the Sangre de Cristo mountains. On the other side, looming 800 feet from the base of Medano Creek, he came face to face with the sand dunes.
|The Great Sand Dunes as Pike likely saw them|
Following Pike, the Westward Expansion of the United States brought homesteaders and settlers to the valley, as well as several army forts just to the south of the dunes. You can look up Fort Garland and several other national historic landmarks in the San Luis Valley to learn about the settling of this area. During the 20th century, the dunes became a symbol of pride for the settlers in the area
|My kids and friends enjoying the "surge" and "waves"|
|My kids with their beach toys|
If you go at any other time, all you see is sand, and if you go during the summer months, it's extremely HOT sand with no chance of shade anywhere on the dunes. It's best to go early in the morning or later in the evening. I can only imagine what it was like for the explorers and original settlers hiking those dunes in all those layers of clothing. Hope it wasn't in the summer!
After doing the research on the history of this area, you can bet I'll be taking more time to document our experiences and explore more around the dunes the next time we go.
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN:
* Have you ever been to the Great Sand Dunes National Park? If so, when and why?
* What would YOUR reaction have been to seeing these dunes for the first time? If you HAVE seen them in person, what were your impressions?
* Do you have any sand dunes where YOU live? Or have you visited other sand dunes? Where?
* What did you like the most about today's post? What topics would you like to see covered in future posts?
Answer any or all of the following, or leave any comment or question you'd like below. Come back on the 9th of July for my next appearance.
Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those childhood skills to become an award-winning and best-selling author and speaker who is also an advocate for literacy as an educational consultant with Usborne Books. She loves to share life-changing products and ideas with others to help better their lives.
She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their two children and two dogs in Colorado. She has sold twenty (23) books so far and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can find her on Facebook and GoodReads.