Great Sand Dunes tour

I was fortunate last week to have a few hours to coker tour the Great Sand Dunes in the San Luis Valley. I have solar work that takes me to some incredible places, so I always try to throw a MUni or Coker into the truck. This time it worked out great for me, as my work finished early. I have driven by this place many times before, and have played in the dune fields before with my family. This time I had two hours to get in a Coker ride so I parked the truck about 10 miles from the visitor center and pedaled away. I had no real gear with me besides the Coker, so I carried a water bottle and camera, and rode with my work clothes. The weather was fantastic, 50 degree’s F, with a pretty good SW wind. The skies were Colorado blue, and I had the road to myself. This was an out and back trip with very little elevation change.
The Great Sand Dunes Nat’l Park is nestled against the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and is the magnificent centerpiece of a natural system that includes high mountain peaks, (4-14ers ) sparkling streams, powerful winds, and -of couse- billions of grains of sand. The huge dunes-tallest in North America-compise only 11 percent of the 330 square mile park. The tallest dune is 750’ tall.
As I spun towards the park entrance the spectacular dunes kept getting closer and closer. The afternoon shadows being cast upon the dune fields by the many ridges where quite a site. One doesnt see the complexity of the dunefields until you get close and the lighting gets just right. I had to stop and take a couple of pictures as it was to much to just ride and look. As I neared the visitor center building, I noticed that there was a small crowd outside. Sure enough, they were waiting for me to arrive, and had the door open for me. I pedaled right into the building and immediately had a 20 minute Q & A session. The rangers were very interested in the “Coker” and unicycling in general. This was a pleasant suprise from my last National Park experiance. The dunes from the visitor center are totally encompassing and inspiring. I wanted to go run to the top of the highest one, but did not have the time.
I mounted and spun back to the truck feeling really good. Even though the ride was not Epic, it was still a wonderful life experience to have. All of the people that I met were very interesting, and I think that I had a positive influence on their day. Being in a spectacular place and then seeing something very unique like someone unicycling on the open road in the middle of no where is cool! What a difference two hours on a Coker, or just doing something fun outside, can make on a persons attitude. Cheers.

picture #2

Thanks for posting this, Mike. Great pictures!

I have plans to get down to the the dunes this fall with my Surly Endomorph 26x3.7" uni… did the rangers mention anything about allowing unicycles on the sand? I know you can ski the dunes…

The Sangres are definitely one of my favorite ranges, second only to the San Juans.

You rode right past the turn off for the infamous “Lake Como” road, supposedly the toughest 4x4 road in N. America. I think it’d be a pretty fun muni trip, especially if you could get someone to carry your gear.

I take it you haven’t read this…

Sweet riding though.

The Sangres are really impressive, as you know, and make for a great backdrop with dunes. I didnt ask the rangers about riding the dunes, I think you might have to be stealth or go on a full moon. The tall ranger was very interested: I can drop his email to you if you would like. He was impressed with the GB4 36er, he is an avid bicyclist.

just makes me wanna buy a coker too… and my grandparents live right down around there…

gee i wish i had about $1000 extra spending cash…

Mike, you’re killin’ me, man!

Your stories and photos always spin my attention and imagination to those beautiful skies and mountains.

Keep ‘em comin’!