I have probably said it before but I will say it again. I hate sand. It gets into everything: your shoes, your clothes, your food, small crevices that are impossible to clean. You can reminisce about trips taken to the beach literally years later as you once again hopelessly vacuum the car. So of course I would find myself in the nation’s largest sand box, Great Sand Dunes National Park. It is quite possibly the only sand box large enough for us to all play nice in. We are not talking a beach here. It is sand piled hundreds of feet high, demanding to be climbed and with the instinct of a retriever, I dutifully climbed. One purpose of seeing all the parks is to appreciate their great diversity but diversity does not come without challenges. It sometimes means doing things that I would rather not do. That said, I am pleased to be done with the caves and gave a small prayer of thanks that beaches are not the prevailing ecosystem of the national parks.
I set out for the top of the dunes shivering. It had been a good many months since I had seen 32 degrees. I was not well dressed for this adventure. I admonished myself again for poor planning. It seemed to be the theme for this particular trip. I had pushed it off from August to September and finally to October. I probably would have pushed it off once again except for the imminent threat of snow got me a bit motivated. As cozy as the teardrop is, hauling the thing over an icy pass seemed suicidal. Even then, I had doubts and guilt about leaving. Maybe I shouldn’t go or maybe I should shorten the trip? It is hard to ignore the responsibilities of adulthood but as it turns out, this, too, can be overcome with diligent practice! In one last burst of will power, I threw everything into the car and punched the gas to get as many miles as possible between me and a reasonable chance of turning back.
In my haste to leave as well as complications due to camper repairs, I had not charged the camper and so the fridge had not cooled. This meant there was no point in going to the grocery store before leaving but that also left me without dinner the first night. I also failed to refill the water tanks before leaving my first camp. This left me with about 5 gallons with which to shower, flush and wash dishes. The dishes are very dirty. I also failed in my pick of camping spot. My habit is to pick something with plenty of shade and privacy but with a new solar panel, the mantra is now “expose yourself.” I’m sure I will be making new friends in no time.
At the top of the dunes, my shoe was full of sand to the point it felt two sizes too small and was rubbing. I stopped to empty it. Was this really what I wanted to be doing, shivering in the sand? I have always been a goal oriented person. I like big projects but occasionally half way through I think maybe I picked the wrong project (i.e. medical school). Maybe I should have brought someone along to share the discomforts? I returned from my wonderings to comfort myself with a bowel of chicken noodle soup and a cider. I felt even better after a hot shower. I considered having to share my five gallon shower and maybe being alone wasn’t so bad after all.