Our maiden trip in the great American west began from the lovely city of Denver, from where we headed south towards the Great Sand Dunes national park. An hour out on 25 South, the highway was the primary sign of civilization. No city lights, no cell phone signal, no second car on the road for miles.
These sand dunes are uniquely situated in that all along the way to the national park, there are green fields and dancing flowers on both sides – hardly a harbinger of a desert to come. It is only during the last 5 miles or so, as you drive around a large hill, the vegetation changes completely. Apparently the hill stops moisture laden clouds on its windward side causing plenty of precipitation on one face while the leeward side remains moisture free and barren. Hence the desert-like sand dunes.
We camped out at the Pinyon flats campground. It was just a day after full moon night and the moon and stars were our guides for much of our activities on our first night camping outdoors. It was a warm night in late August, near perfect weather, and we called it a day to get a good night’s rest.
All through the night, we could hear various animals, though being city dwellers, we couldn’t really recognize or identify any! The closest encounter we had was in the early hours of the morning – we were woken up by the sounds of something sniffing and walking around our tent. We were both as still as we possibly could be. We heard people talking about bobcats and mountain lions having been sighted when we finally got up that morning. Oh well, all’s well that ends well – and we were off to our next destination – Lake Powell and the Rainbow Bridge.