Sunday, March 30, 2014

Coral Pink Sand Dunes with Kids in the Snow

 We didn't start out our spring break trip in the best of weather, in fact we needed four-wheel drive to go on one highway due to the slippery, snowy conditions, but we looked on the bright side: we were about to begin a fun vacation.
When we got to our destination, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, the ranger said there had been a mixup with our campsite (which I had reserved in advance through a very confusing and gouging reservation system), and that even though the website had said that all the campsites were full the following two nights, in reality we could stay. That made me happy--one tent set up and take down, hot showers, and likely other kids in the playground for my kids to play with.

But first we had to sleep.

When we woke the next morning, a dusting of snow covered everything. And it was cold. I got the kids into their snow pants, bundled them into the truck, and had them eat some breakfast at the overlook while I ran out and got some photos.

 The view was so otherworldly that I just had to get the kids to show them. And then, before we knew it, we had set off on a hike.

 The little ramble soon turned into "Hey mom, let's go hike to the top of that dune."

I couldn't resist that! So off we went, with me stopping often for more photos of the sun rising on the snow-covered dunes. Coral Pink Sand Dunes are named for their cool orange color, but I couldn't help being mesmerized by the snow coating. It was sort of like icing, and come on, who can resist icing?

We saw all sorts of tracks, including coyote tracks. I had heard a few yipping the night before.

 To my great surprise, we were the only ones up and hiking. The dunes are a major ATV mecca, but ATVs are restricted to 9 am to 10 pm. That means hikers have the dunes to themselves for the first few hours of the day.

Desert Boy couldn't resist sliding down the side of the dune (towards the north). He came back up smiling.

Hiking was not too difficult, and before we knew it, we were at the top.

Then the real fun began. Desert Boy slid down the other side and convinced us to do it. Oh my goodness, what fun! A perfect sledding hill, with no rocks or trees in the way! The visitor center has sand sleds and sand boards for rent, but with the slick snow covering, we didn't need anything but our snow pants.

Can you see Desert Boy? He's the little black dot in the middle of the photo (now looking south). Desert Girl went on my lap several times but eventually got brave enough to go sliding on her own. We went down and up so many times.

Despite the stormy clouds, the snow was gradually melting, making for a delightful mix of white and orange.

 It was time for us to leave and start some other adventures for the day…(to be continued).


jhami said...

Pretty place! I love sand dunes ! Looks like an adventure!

Taz said...

We spent about 3 weeks at the dunes a few yaers ago in March. No snow much to my dismay.

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