The Pacific Northwest Tour: Week 2

Two weeks into the Pacific Northwest tour and I’m still in the southwest. After Overland Expo, I ventured to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve where I’ve been hanging out for the last week.

What I’ve been up to…

  • 1/2 day driving 220 miles to Great Sand Dunes from Cortez, CO: The drive from Cortez through the San Juans is amazing. Crossing the snowy continental divide then going to desert in a matter of an hour is a surreal experience.
  • 6 1/2 days at Great Sand Dunes: I’ve been relaxing, shooting, hiking a little bit… and enduring very volatile weather.

Immersion in the dunes…

This part of the trip is one of the things I’ve been looking forward to rabidly. The weather has been challenging but it’s allowed me to experience the dunes in a whole new way. Being immersed here for a week has given me a new perspective on the rhythms here.

I was hoping to ensconce myself and not have to return to civilization for my entire stay but I did venture to town for bit to catch up on laundry. That and a great dinner seemed a much better bet than sitting in my tent during yet another thunderstorm with no power to accomplish any work and too cold to partake of any hobbies like knitting.

Overall it’s been an amazing week. From the little things like the constant buzz of hummingbirds to the grandeur of storms in the dunes, I’m a very happy nature nerd. More to come as I process the images and video but for now…

By the numbers this week…

In my first week of travel I covered over 2,000 miles. This week only about 200.
In my first week of travel I covered over 2,000 miles. This week only a few hundred.
  • Total Days on the Road: 7 (14 total)
  • Miles this Week: 345 (2,450 total)
  • States this Week: 2 (AZ, CO) for 11 total
  • National Parks & Lands visited this week: 1 (Great Sand Dunes National Park)
  • Instagrams: 21 (35 total)
  • Time Zone Changes: 1 (5 total)
  • Nights in Hotel: 1 (4 total)
  • Nights Camping: 6 (10 total)

Highlights in pictures…

Bracingly cold at the Continental Divide…
One of my favorite places in the world…
Like my other favorites, the Great Smoky Mountains and Death Valley, there’s no shortage of intricacies I’d like to explore here.
I managed to score one of the best campsites in the lower loop…
Most people drive by but this tree is like an old friend to me here. I’ve spent many hours in its company.
The Wellington Ditch Trail is an overlooked gem at the park.
All sorts of wildlife visit the campground.
Up Medano Creek…
In between storms, I managed to enjoy some hammock time.
And I do mean storms… the weather has been highly volatile this past week but my tent held tight against the wind, rain, and hail.
I wasn’t quite due for laundry even though I’d been on the road almost two weeks but with nothing to do at camp during the storms I decided to head to town for dinner, supplies, and laundry.
A yummy burger and a good beer at the San Luis Brewing Company were a welcome comfort on a stormy night.
For all of crazy weather I endured, my reward was the most amazing day in the dunes I’ve ever had.
Believe it or not these are happy feet after a great day in the dunes. I may battle the infamous toe issue and a strained achilles but it’s so worth it.
A sunset over the San Luis Valley, complete with deer grazing nearby made for a magical evening.

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And now for your moment of green…

I might be just a little bit happy to be at Great Sand Dunes…

So far…

The Pacific Northwest Tour (2014)


  1. Great pic of you in the Great Sand Dunes!

    1. Thanks JP! Loving my new camera setup. 🙂

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