Monday, October 24, 2016

SSA13/SoCal Trip - Day 3

Today began in Sharon Springs, Kansas.  The overnight temps dropped down into the upper 20's/low 30's - but I managed to stay nice and toasty in the Jeep.  We'll see if that continues to hold true in the higher elevations.

My goal for today was Great Sand Dunes National Park - (https://www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm).  I made it early this afternoon.  This is one of those places that will never be done justice in a photograph - it's simply unreal!  And for someone who didn't even know it existed until last year... I think maybe I've been living under a rock.  o.O  Now I know about it, and have visited... and I plan to be back.  I spent a few hours here, checked out the visitors center to get the historical low-down on the place, and walked a short interpretive hike.  But what I was jonesing for was the 4wd road at the backside of the park - that was where I headed next.  This is the first time the new Jeep has seen what I'd consider a *real* off-road trail.  It was pretty mellow, with sand being the only substantial obstacle... and really, it wasn't all that substantial.  The trail went much farther than what I chose do go - due to it being later in the day to cover 33+ miles of trail (I certainly didn't want to make the journey after dark), no phone signal, and some of the signage warned about deeper sand... and being that I'm traveling solo in an untested Jeep, I chose to turn back before things could get ugly.  Back off the trail, I went down to the general parking area which gives the general population access to the dunes and all it has to offer.  I walked a bit, took a lot of photos, and then headed out.

My other goal for today was to reach Ouray by the evening - of which I fell short by a couple of hours.  Instead, I've stopped in Gunnison, Colorado this evening.  I had some dinner, and I have been researching my plan-of-attack in terms of Ouray-area offroad trails that can be done by my soft-roader... of which I have a game plan thanks to a suggestion from a friend and perusing the internet.

Up bright and early tomorrow for fuel, food, a little bit of groceries... and then to be off!

*Some phone images from the day...*