In the morning we got promised drop-off to the airport. The flight was over mountainous region, which was a pleasant change after last few days spent mainly in the low and flat lands. We got to Alamosa as planned and before landing flew to Great Sand Dunes (just 20 miles north east of the airport) to check out how they look from the air and investigate camping possibilities. The Great Sand Dunes are located at the footstep of high mountain ridges and look beautiful. Marta and I were amazed when we saw them and even Vince who was a bit sceptic about the whole idea of “camping on the sand” got really enthusiastic about camping there.
After landing at Alamosa it took us a short while to prepare all the stuff for the camping, while repacking we witnessed arrival of two military Chinooks. They did an airplane like approach, except that their vertical speed was very low. As they were flying down the runway the slipstream from their rotors lifted up all the dirt from around the runway. The visibility got so bad that although we were only few hundred feet away we could barely see them (BTW. During pre-flight the next day I discovered that the whole plane was covered in a dust).
The car ride to Great Sand Dunes took much longer that the flight there. After we got there we ate a baked chicken that we bought in a supermarket in Alamosa. Then we checked out the camping possibilities. Unfortunately all “wild” camping places very close to the dunes were only accessible by cars with 4WD so our only camping option was organized campground with still amazing view over the dunes. By the time we found a place to camp and organized our camping it was already getting dark and too late to hike on the dunes. We decided to hike very early in the morning the following day and see the sunrise from the dunes.
Marta and I are complete camping novices, but thanks to Vince and his experience we liked that camping experience. The only problem were our slipping bags which are more for summer use and the temperature overnight dropped well below zero (Celsius) and although we have several layer of cloths on us we felt cold.
We woke up shortly after 5 am and hiked to the top of the second highest dune. The sun came up shortly before we got to the top, but it was not very well pronounced because of a high cloud overcast. Hiking the dunes as well as the view from them was spectacular experience.