Medano Pass (Primitive Trail) to The Great Sand Dunes National Park

On day 5 of our Colorado exploration, we headed to The Great Sand Dunes National Park via the Medano Pass. These sand dunes are the highest and most majestic in all of North America, and they are formed from some unique environmental conditions that allow a massive collection of sand to accumulate in the San Luis Valley (see here for more details.)

The Medano Pass is a primitive off-road trail and backcountry entrance through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to The Great Sand Dunes National Park. This pass is a low mountain pass that links the San Luis valley (where the dunes lie) to the Wet Mountain Valley on the other side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It is a relative easy off-road trail that offers breathtaking scenery of the surrounding forest and mountains. It was a fun way to approach the park and made for a full and exciting day!

20120627-091025.jpg

20120627-091044.jpg

20120627-091053.jpg

20120627-091123.jpg

20120627-091154.jpg
all of a sudden, things started to get sandy…

20120627-091246.jpg

20120627-091256.jpg

20120627-091315.jpg

20120627-091329.jpg

20120627-091343.jpg

20120627-091353.jpg

20120627-091407.jpg
wheeeeeee Little Man!

20120627-091419.jpg

20120627-091429.jpg

20120627-091449.jpg
Big Brother loved the textrue and resistance of the sand, and would even climb all the way to the top!

20120627-091547.jpg

20120627-091604.jpg
even Big Brother’s beloved lamb let loose and enjoyed himself for a change

20120627-091707.jpg

20120627-091719.jpg

20120627-091738.jpg

20120627-091753.jpg

20120627-091807.jpg

20120627-091821.jpg
goodbye Great Sand Dunes!

Advertisements

An Off-Road Trek Up Mount Antero in the Colorado Rockies

On our first full day in Colorado, we did some hiking (that’s for an upcoming post) and then visited Mount Antero via an off-road expedition. I filmed our trek with my phone and I’m sharing the clips below. If you become bored with them, just skip to the last two videos of the kids where an overload of cuteness awaits you. I’m not a very good videographer, so be gracious!

“Mount Antero is the eleventh highest peak in Colorado, with an elevation of 14,276 feet (4,351 m). Also known as Antero Peak, it is named for Chief Antero of the Uintah band of Utes. It is located in the central Sawatch Range in Chaffee County between the towns of Buena Vista and Salida. The mountain itself is prized for its gemstone deposits and has one of the highest concentrations of aquamarine in the country. There are several active private mining claims being exploited on Mt. Antero and surrounding peaks.

The peak is located entirely within the San Isabel National Forest, due south of the more visually prominent Mount Princeton. Mount Antero is one of the most prominent peaks of the Sawatch Range rising an impressive 7,000 feet above the town of Salida, Colorado to the south east. There are two popular climbing routes on Mount Antero. The generally accepted hiking route, which begins near the ghost town of St. Elmo, is from the east starting at the Browns Creek Trailhead and paralleling Little Browns Creek to its upper reaches where it crosses Forest Road 1A, then following the road near to the summit. The other route follows the same forest road from the north up Baldwin Creek. This route has heavy mining and tourist traffic in fair weather during the summer months.

The peak was surveyed by the Pike Expedition in 1806. A forest service sign at the Browns Creek trailhead commemorates the expedition camp at the eastern base of the peak.” -Wikipedia

Going up and rocking out to Phineas and Ferb (this video is kind of boring and poorly executed, but I’m posting them all so here it is!):

On our way to the peak:

The one where I have a panic attack on film. I would have happily hiked this mountain, but in our FJ Cruiser, it was just too much to see us teeter-totter on the edge of the blind curves:

Looking for snow:

Looking for a lake:

Baldwin Lake:

Big Brother’s Take on Colorado:

Little Man’s Take on Colorado:

I’ll be back with photos from our other hikes and trails soon!

A Rocky Mountain Adventure for an Appalachian Girl (and her family)

20120619-134841.jpg
yours-truly rocking the 80+ mph wind gusts 12,000 ft up near Pomeroy Lake in the Colorado Rockies

I’m a southern, Appalachian Mountain girl through and through. Born and raised in the foothills of Appalachia, I love my old growth cove forests, raging waterfalls, lightening bugs, sweet tea and steamy summer nights where the forests glisten in an almost magical, ethereal way in the wetness of the surrounding air. After traveling 24 hours in the car, I found myself here, within reach of the clouds. Toto, we’re not in Tennessee anymore!

20120619-135848.jpg
traveling off-road up to the crest of the Continental Divide

We spent a week climbing up the spectacular mountains of Colorado in our trusty FJ Cruiser. We hiked to alpine lakes and waterfalls and even managed to go horseback riding (a first for my son with Autism!), visit some ghost towns and mine ruins, and also visit the Great Sand Dunes national park. It was an exciting trip filled with breathtaking views and new landscapes to explore. I have hundreds upon hundreds of photos to download off of both my “good camera” and my iphone! I’m not sure when I will be able to tackle it all, so bear with me. I have so much to share…not only of pictures and trails, but reflections from travel and adventure with a special needs child and more. I also have some reviews I would like to do. So stay tuned, I’ve got a lot in store for you all!