I’m Covered in Sand!

Self Portrait in the Great Sand Dunes

After three completely sedentary weeks at the computer, this last weekend I was desperate for some wilderness action, so I headed out on a backpacking trip in the Great Sand Dunes. My initial plan was to do a simple three day hike up and back the Sand Ramp Trail along the eastern side of the dunes. But on the first night I was feeling ambitious and decided to hike all the way around the dunes! Read more about the trip below, and be sure to check out my gallery of photos from the trip.

Great Sand Dunes National Park map

I started at the Point of No Return, and basically did a counter-clockwise loop around and through the dunes, camping one night on the hills above the dunes, and two nights in the dunes themselves. On day 2 I took a big gamble, hoping that Sand Creek would be flowing, at the north end of the dunes. Fortunately it was, and stocked up on water there, which I would have to haul for the rest of the trip through the dunes.

I had all my winter camping gear with me, including my -30ยบ synthetic sleeping bag, down jacket, balaclava, winter gloves, long underwear, and down booties, which were great for hanging around in the dunes at night. An MSR dromedary bag was great for hauling the water, as a busted plastic jug would have been disastrous. The cold nights were no problem since I was all bundled up, and the days were perfect weather for crossing the dunes – sunny with a brisk chill to the air.

My last night there was incredible – a perfectly calm night with the stars blazing and my mind all wrapped up in the strange dunes magic. I almost expected a UFO to come down and pluck me out of there.

See my gallery of photos from the dunes trek here.

8 thoughts on “I’m Covered in Sand!

  1. Jack,

    Sounds like an amazing trip! I really love #s 1062, 1065, and 1066…awesome, awesome job! I’m guessing these were taken with your beloved E-420 setup?

  2. Nice early season epic jaunt, Jack. Congrats on the sweet imagery you rewarded yourself with. They’re all excellent, but there’s something about 1063….and the pine….and moonlight….

    Still findin’ sand??

  3. Let me start by congratulating you on a fantastic website to go along with your gorgeous photography. I have really enjoyed browsing through your posts. I will be checking in regularly!

  4. Jack, I assume these were taken with your OLY outfit. What tripod and ballhead do you use in this kit. Do you recommend them? Were any of the photos in this set panos? Very nice shots. Only one more week in Florida and I’m headed west. If I make it to Ouray it will be around September. If so and if you are around I would like to shake your hand.Jay

  5. Thanks for sharing — I’m too old to travel so your photos give me that chance from right here at my pc — off to places I didn’t get to visit in person.
    Lets face it, you get views I wouldn’t have seen in person. Thanks millions for you thoughts on what you see. Very special.


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