Yesterday was just the perfect day for an autumn hike in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness and the Great Sand Dunes National Preserve. For those of you who don’t know where the Great Sand Dunes are, they are in Southern Central Colorado. I chose Mosca Pass trail which is a 7-mile round trip hike up a forested canyon to Mosca pass. The trail head is not far from the Visitors Center and is well-marked. However, be prepared for a workout as it is mostly an uphill climb of 1,400 elevation gain. At the higher elevation the aspens were already in their glory.
At lunchtime, I relax on a log and experience the comforting and gentle warmth of the sun on my shoulders as it filters through the trees. The last couple of days have been filled with drama and venturing into nature is always very nurturing. I come to the woods for healing, peace and insight. Being around nature, hearing a babbling brook or birds singing, allows me space and time to reflect as well as slow down.
In the 1870’s, Mosca Pass may have been slow, but it was a busy route. American Indians used this route long before it even became a toll road. By the 1890’s, tolls were 50 cents a head for livestock, $1.00 for a horse and rider and $2.00 for a team and wagon. The steepness of the road caused continuous wash outs and any attempts to maintain the pass were abandoned in 1911. Today, only 4-wheel drive vehicles are recommended to explore this area.
On the way back down the trail, a steady stream of raindrops turned into a full blown storm. Perhaps on another visit I’ll explore more of the Sand Dunes themselves. Turns out there are five sand dunes in this park that reach a height of 700 feet tall and thirty-seven dunes are over 600 feet tall! Now that is impressive!
Lt. Zebulon M. Pike, an American soldier, was also impressed with the Great Sand Dunes. On Jan. 28th, 1807, he described them in his journal as “appearing exactly as a sea in a storm except as to color”. As I looked back while driving out of the park, This was exactly the image.
Therefore, never put off till tomorrow what you can do today, because now, it is raining in town and much cooler.
For more information visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park website.