From a distance, the Great Sand Dunes seem dwarfed by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, at whose foothills they drape. But as we drove closer, their vastness walloped us with wonder. Expecting a quick jaunt in the sand, we found ourselves following others, ant trails traipsing up the camelious mounds. Wending our way up the windy spines, we felt blissfully overwhelmed by the otherworldliness of it all. In the sienna rays of sunset, we glissaded back down.
Nineteenth century explorer Zebulon Pike got it right when he wrote: “Their appearance was exactly that of a sea in a storm (except as to color).” Winds topping 40 miles an hour continually sculpt the crests, making some dunes migrate, but opposing winds keep the core in place. America the beautiful counterbalance.