2015 GART Day 1: Sand Dunes

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I’ve been out for a little over 2 weeks but we all had a Great American Road Trip and now I have lots more stories to tell.

We left on a Thursday night after work and packing up the van.

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The kitchen was clean so we went to Oklahoma Joes for dinner on the way out. We stuffed our faces and then Heath took the wheel and I tried to sleep. The kids got to play electronics for a bit.

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Heath drove to Oakley and then passed off to me at the Mittens gas station and I took over. I drove for 4.5 hours and right into Sand Dunes National park and into the lot right by the dunes. It was not dawn yet so I rested until I heard some rustling in front of me and found Bean awake. I really had to go to the bathroom and she was not going to be quiet so we got out.

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There were a lot of bunnies and chipmunks and other animals poking around.

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It was really cold and I only had shorts, tshirt and a hat. Luckily Bean was well prepared. We spent about an hour hiking around, trying to keep me warm and waiting for the others to get up.

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Eventually I could not take the cold any more and went ahead and opened up the back of the van and dug around for my jacket. This woke the others and our day began.

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So you have the parking lot and then a little flat area, followed by a creek and then the dunes and eventually the mountains.

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So right away we had to take off our shoes and cross the creek. The creek that is all snow melt. It is not that deep but it’s pretty wide.

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and super cold.

Bean was on my back, Pumpkin and I jumped in and whoo-wee it was cold so we giggled and rushed our way across.

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Heath followed us and made it about half way before realizing we were short person.

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It was too cold for Peanut. I dropped off the girls and ran back.

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Then made another trip.

IMG_0270By this time my feet were numb and I barely noticed the cold. Since our feet were numb and wet we decided to leave our shoes in a pile and hike on barefoot.

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The kids loved the sand and we hiked up a ways before getting tired and stopping for breakfast.

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I had made chocolate chip and apple cinnamon waffles the day before and we ate them cold with chocolate milk on the top of a dune. It was great. We hiked up to some father dunes and then got ready for our favorite part.

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We took turns running down.

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It was a lot of fun but later I saw people doing more leaping then running and I wish we had thought to try that. We made our way back to the van and headed over to the campsites. All the reserved sites were taken before we planned the trip so we hoped to grab a first come site. I had heard 9am was the perfect time to pickup a site as other people checked out and that was right we got the best site in the campground.

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There was nice shade on the picnic table and tent, close enough to 2 bathrooms and it was right along a small creek.

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The kids loved the creek and the other kids it drew in to play.

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We had lunch and Heath and I were ready for a drink after all that driving.

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After lunch we finished setting up our site and we were all tired so I read aloud a bit of Little House on the prairie and we laid down for naps.

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In the afternoon we went to the visitor center and the kids worked on their ranger books and had them done by the time we left.

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So we got the badges.

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After this the weather started looking pretty rough but we braved the potential storm for more time in the sand.

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Before dusk we went back to the campsite and cooked up some dinner.

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Then watched the sun set.

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And the storm roll in.

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There was a ranger program just after dark to look for stars. The clouds were too thick for stars but we learned cool things about the park and really enjoyed the program. It was really cold and windy when the program was over and just after we got in the tent the rain started to fall but we were warm and dry in the tent.

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