Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller Expedition Date: September 20, 2019
The National Park dunes are the largest in North America located just west of the Sangre de Criston Mountains in southern Colorado. This was one of the hardest hikes Rosie & I ever did due to the deep, soft sand & high altitude (8,200 feet). We hiked up to the top of the third highest sand dune which was a 610 foot climb. At that summit, we were blasted by 35 mph winds & blowing sand (photo #8). We couldn’t see to continue up any farther to the tallest dune which was the Star Dune at 755 feet which is the highest sand dune in the USA. Photo #9 is the view from that summit looking back to where we began at the parking lot with the visitor center beyond it. The little black specs are other climbers.
On the way down a huge gust of wind blew my hat off into the sand about five feet away. I dove for it but it blew over the edge of the dune. As Rosie yelled not to leave her as she slowly got buried in blowing sand, I jumped about 25 feet down the dune and grabbed my blowing hat. Somehow, I climbed the soft sand back up the 30 foot dune and pulled half buried Rosie out of the sand and we continued down the final 400 feet. Someday I want to return with my children and climb all the way to the summit.