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Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Dunes Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO, Tuesday, 11 September 2012 4:22am

It never ceases to amaze me how much dithering I can do on the Internet. What with one thing and another, I somehow didn't manage to leave Trinidad until almost 11am. The ride, mostly along CO-12 was quite pretty.

I had been waffling about my plan for the day. I mapped out my actual route in Santa Fe, and determined that I was underestimating how long it was going to take to do the things on my list, so I feel some pressure to make good time so that I can fit everything in. The plan called for camping tonight at Great Sand Dunes National Park, but it seemed like I could fit in a few hours at the park and still make it to Durango, gaining a day.

After arriving at the park and having a look around, I decided to stick to the plan and camp here. That gave me time to hike out into the dunes for a few hours. I love the quiet of the desert, and this was quite satisfying. There was an occasional crow's call, or a shout from one of the other hikers, but other than that there was just the wind.

I also did a ranger-led nature walk and learned about adaptations of desert plants (echoes of a class in Desert Ecology that I took when I was 12 or so), and listened to a talk about the history of the area. The highlight was learning about how the "Clovis" people would hunt giant buffalo (significantly larger than today's buffalo) with a spear and atlatl, and then getting to try throwing it. It turns out that I'm a menace to vegetation with a spear-thrower. My first throw went straight through a juniper bush. Comparing with the un-aided spear throw, I was impressed by how much power the atlatl added.

I should make better time tomorrow, without the Internet to slow my morning...

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