I got my new backpacking bag yesterday and couldn’t wait to try it out today. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, with temperatures in the mid-60s.
I packed up my bag with all the gear I’ve gathered s0 far—sleeping bag/pad, hammock, water bladder, rain cover, etc.—and headed out for a hike. I had thought about going up into the mountains, perhaps even to Penitente or Creede, but found myself arriving at the Sand Dunes.
I stopped at the Visitor Center to inquire about a backpacking permit, and suggestions on where to camp for the night. It was only supposed to dip down to 26 degrees, so I was hoping to be able to test out my sleeping gear. After a discussion on camp limitations due the need for trees for my hammock, I was limited to the Preserve. However, as soon as the woman suggested that she immediately warned me that this is the time of the year the bears are around, and that they tend to be at that location.
So—rather than being eaten alive by a bear my first time in the CO wilderness alone, I decided to pass on an overnight and spent the day hiking the dunes.
Having an extra 25-30 pounds on your back certainly makes the hike up mounds of sand more challenging. I was so winded at times that I set a leisurely pace and really enjoyed myself. The backpack seems to fit great so far and I am really happy with it.
After my 2.5 hour hike to the top of the dunes and back, I decided to stick around and read and relax in nature. I stayed until the sunset, which was beautiful. There’s nothing as striking as the shadows creeping along the peaks of the dunes and watching the colors of the sunset stretch all the way across the Valley…
The dunes are truly a magical place.
I’ll post more photos tomorrow!