Colorado/Albuquerque trip: Day 2, Climbing the Dunes

We headed back to the Sand Dunes after resting up at the hotel. It was a gorgeous day and we were hoping the wind at the Dunes had died down a bit.

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And there they are! In very different lighting!

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Leading up in the parking lot! We layered pants/onesie/socks under a sleeper to keep her warm, plus a hat, and then we put her in our hiking backpack!

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It’s actually quite a long walk just to get to the dunes themselves – you can see how tiny the people are on them!

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Looking behind us:

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Elena’s face is a little chalky from the zinc sunscreen I put on her!

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Starting our ascent!

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The last time I was here was a springtime, back in the late 90s. When I had a film camera. I distinctly remember the climb being extremely difficult – one step forward, two steps back, on some of the Dunes. It was as I had remembered. The combo of altitude, steep climbs, and ground that shifts under you makes for a challenge.

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It’s also a spectacularly beautiful place.

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Looking behind me:

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Last time I was there, I also had hiking boots, which would have been smart to bring. My sneakers were full of sand, so I took them off. Lots of people hike this barefoot. Last time I went down in bare feet. This time I also went up. Toes being able to dig and grip helped a little. That’s me.

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It was at this point that the wind picked up and though we had her face protected by my windbreaker, the baby, who had been a total trooper up to this point, was not enjoying herself. So we headed back down. We made it pretty far towards High Dune, but it just wasn’t in the cards this time. It was a little disappointing since the view is great and I had made it last time. But we had some significant ridge climbs in front of us still, and the wind was going to be even worse higher up. We moved Elena to Doug’s front so he could shield her a little better, and we headed down. She fell fast asleep on the way down!

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You can see the weather moving in over the Dunes. Besides the wind, we lost some of the sun too.

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I had sooo much sand on my face.

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We got takeout from El Super Taco for dinner. The Yelp reviews were good, but it was just so-so for us. In the morning, we packed up at headed back to Albuquerque!

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