Day 9 & 10 of our vacation was a drive from Fairplay, CO to Antonito, CO with a stop at The Great Sand Dunes National Park. Having never been to this National Park, I didn’t know what to expect. From a distance the brown sand dunes did not look that impressive but as we got closer my opinion changed. The Great Sand Dunes National Park sprawl across part of southern Colorado's San Luis Valley but as you drive up to them they are dwarfed by the 13,000-foot peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It’s not until you get up close that you realize the dunes are enormous; some as tall as 750 feet. The Parks Services encourage visitors to walk on the dunes. There is no park road around the sight, only to a visitors’ center and a parking area somewhat close to the base of some of the dunes. The dunes are the tallest in North America, covering more than 30 square miles. Adults hike across them and marvel at their beauty; children run and slide down their steep slopes, enjoying a playground of fairy-tale proportions.
After leaving the park we headed to Antonito, CO which is one of the destination locations for the Cumbres & Toltec RR. We’ve been on the train once before and it was magnificent as it was the last run of the year and all the aspens were in their dress of fall color. We spent 2 nights in Antonito solely to facilitate the train ride as it takes all day to go from Antonito to Chama, NM with a lunch stop in between, then bused back to Antonito. This time I invested a few more dollars and secured seats in the parlor car (it was the last car on the 7 car train – not including the coal car). The additional expense was totally worth it; snacks and drink along with collectables as part of the price. Additionally, I could stand outside the rear of the car on a platform and take pictures as the train went around curves and pictures of the curved tracks we had just gone over.
The below slide show includes some of this images captured during this portion of our trip. This will be the last entry for the RMNP vacation as I’ve already posted (on Facebook) some of the images from our stay in Taos, NM and I don’t want to duplicate images. Enjoy!
Music in the Slideshow
Crossing the Divide Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License