Great Sand Dunes National Park is a bit out of the way of anything in Colorado, but it is an impressive sight when you arrive. Out of the flat desert rise huge dunes in front of towering mountains. It is a strange combination, but the oddity is intriguing and calls for closer exploration. The hike to the top of High Dune was a long and strenuous walk of short steps sinking into soft sand which resulted in both of us spending the rest of the day trying to get tiny grains out of our eyes. What we could see between blinks and tears was beautiful colors, textures, and lines stretching out to the Sangre de Cristo mountains.
We spent the last two days in Rocky Mountain National Park. Despite the unexpected warm weather the mountains were still covered in snow, making for breathtakingly beautiful scenes around every turn. They are massive and all-encompassing on the horizon. It’s hard to explain the grandeur, but it’s something that everyone should see in person at some point. It was hard to drive away, but it was a nice ride out.
Couch surfing has been a big part of our trips for the past few years. Once we discovered the network of likeminded people who offered their homes for travelers to stay we have been getting more into it ever since. I’ve met some great people that I keep in touch with from all around the country and internationally. This shot is from the deck of last night’s host at sunrise near Lyons, Colorado. Cheri was a great host, and her house was beautifully located high up in the hills with views in all directions. I’ve really enjoyed all of my experience so far with couch surfing, and I can’t wait for more.
Driving the western edge of Rocky Mountain National Park at dawn was like waking up but feeling like I’m still in a dream. Everything was soft and quiet, and there were no people except the occasional other driver. Shadow Mountain Lake was a hidden surprise just as the sun was thinking about cresting the horizon where I could pull over and enjoy the view in the very cold summer morning air. I would have stayed longer if I wasn’t losing feeling in my fingers.
I took this shot at a slight long exposure on the side of a small trail off of a mountain road in Colorado. The best part about it was getting to spend some time with my friend outside. In the new year, take a couple seconds to appreciate the people you have and the beautiful nature that surrounds us. Happy new year!
A lot of people will be spending the day looking back over the year. What they’ve accomplished and all of the usual things. I’m looking back on this photo and the solo trip I took a couple of years ago. This day was especially peaceful and rewarding for many reasons. I woke up in the night to see moose chasing each other around the picnic table at my campsite, walked a river trail at sunrise in near silence, and then enjoyed this view for a while as a steam engine rolled by on the mountainside above. I can only hope I’ll have a day something like this one in my future again.