by Ryan Davis (Texas)
It was October 7th, 2019, at Summit Semester.
We all loaded up in the “Semi-Scooby” vans we use for transportation to start our two-hour drive to the Great Sand Dunes National park. After a long drive and setting up camp for the night, we arrived at the Sand Dunes. After a quick look at the Dunes, I realized that my expectations were exceeded. (This may have been due to the sunset taking place on the dunes horizon). The Dunes were much bigger than expected and had a simple architecture.
The thought of a mini-mountain range being made out of something as simple as sand was extraordinary. As we started to make our way to the top of the smaller dunes I began to realize that walking the dunes was not the simplest task. Every step we took, our feet would sink into the sand and slide backward a couple of inches due to the loose sand. So every few steps you, in essence, take a step back! On top of this, the winds were blowing sand into our eyes. You could not hide from the gusts of sand; even facing away the wind was still persistent enough to sandblast your cronies. But though these Egyptian-type plagues were taking place there was a beauty to it: the beautiful sunset, the finely ground sand, and the rolling dunes made it all worth it.
We reached our desired destination at the top of the highest sand dune. We took in the beauty and had fun. We jumped off the sides of dunes to see how far we could go, wrestled, and just simply fooled around. Others sat and took the view in. After being at the extremely windy top of the dunes for about an hour I proceeded down the dunes. As we left we started to run and look at the stars as we ran (which may have possibly resulted in many falls,) giving us a “trippy” feeling. After running down the dunes we decided to lay down on the sand and gaze at the stars in silence. After this, we all went back to camp to get ready for the next day.
It was about 9 A.M. when we departed from camp to return to the dunes for the day. On the way to the dunes we stopped and rented sand boards which we would be using at the dunes. The day was great for sandboarding due to the lack of heat and wind. As we arrived at the dunes, we started to try out using the boards on the shifting sand. The boards allowed us to slide down the dunes with ease. Although there may have been ease there were many crashes as we proceeded to practice. Many of the crashes resulted after we reached full speed at the bottom of the dune, causing pain!
We also went into the visitor’s center and decided to be sworn in as junior rangers. After a strong oath (basically stating you wouldn’t blow the place up) many of the students and staff became Junior rangers of the dunes that day. By mid-afternoon, we were all worn out by a full day of sun and the sand and piled back into our vans for the long trip back to Snow Wolf Lodge.