day 2… The cabin, Crestone, and the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

The cabin is lovely. Outfitted with just about everything someone needs (except the food). There’s no air conditioning but opening the windows (except for those in the basement and off the porch – we didn’t want any bears to visit) helped cool the place down. Ceiling fans and table fans helped that first night, too.

Did I mention that our cell phones don’t work? (Not unexpected.) The phone in the cabin – no dial tone. Hmm….

Crestone is… interesting. New age, old hippies, zen, yoga, Buddhist and Hindu shrines, & spiritualism abound. We drove into town on Saturday morning, down the gravel road we’d come up in the dark. There were actually a few houses, very wooded, scrub pine & sagebrush all around, mountains behind us and a huge valley in front of us. See photos of Crestone.

In the town of Crestone we parked outside a small café that was open and wandered in, looked around. The artists gallery across the street was closed. The one gas station/grocery was open. Picked up some organic salsa (which was delicious). A couple of other stores were open but not the galleries. So… back to the cabin for lunch.

After lunch we headed to the Sand Dunes. Seems like it took forever to get there. Problem is, you have to drive west the 14 miles back out to highway 17, then go south for 25 miles, then turn east for 20 miles. But, well worth the trip though much of it is through flat, sagebrush-covered, desolate land with few sights except for the mountains on either side of the valley. The mountains aren’t that close – 20 miles to the east, maybe 30 to the west.

From highway 17 you can see the Dunes. From a distance they look like a light brown spot near the base of the mountains. If we didn’t know about the place, we probably wouldn’t have thought much of it. But after you drive a few miles east after the turn off from highway 17, you start to get impressed. And when you’re practically on them, they truly are an amazing site. See my Flickr page for lots of photos of the Dunes. Click on the ‘photostream’ photos and go ‘left’ to see them!

The visitor’s center had the informative movie and displays about the environment. There were hiking trails and, for the adventurous, a hike across and up the dunes. It was pretty warm, so I can only imagine how hot it was on the higher dunes. (Temps can exceed 120 degrees there.) We walked a bit on the sand – even the fit amongst us decided that that was enough. There was a storm coming in over the mountains behind the Dunes but we git in a hike through a short trail in a wooded area and made it back to the car just as the sky opened up!

We took a different road out of the dunes headed south for 15-20 miles where we picked up a different highway and headed west to Alamosa. Alamosa was the largest town on highway 17 and supposedly had some unique shopping and restaurants. Mexican food. Yum. We got a recommendation from folks working in the pharmacy department at Walgreens where one of the ladies needed to get some meds for allergies which were popping up. Mrs. Rivera’s had authentic food – good stuff. We ate then headed north on highway 17 so we could find the cabin in the light!!

Home at last. Movie night: Stir Crazy.

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