Mesa Verde was much more than I had imagined as a child. The culture and history of the people who lived here was enough to keep me wandering through museums and cliff dwellings for hours, until my whole body ached and I simply did not have the energy to see another Kiva, or read another informational plaque.
I left Mesa Verde excited to have seen something that I had always wanted to see. I made my way east from the National park all the way to the borders of Great Sand Dunes National Park, South of Colorado Springs. Camping for the night in a large sandy field of desert scrub, I was presented with more stars than I have seen at any other location on my travels.
The next morning I began the short drive into GSDNP, a drive punctuated by sighting of elk and prong horned antelope. The dunes themselves were amazing. In spite of the bitter cold wind and light rain, I made my way a quarter of a mile out into the foothills of sand. It was difficult hiking across the loose ground, my face constantly being stung by blowing particles of silica. Eventually I was forced to turn back, but my timing turned out to be good because I was rewarded with two sights on my way out of the park. The first was a menonite dad with his four happy daughters, the youngest of which was holding his hand as he skipped with her to make her happy. The second sight was a group of four really big bodied, large racked mule deer.
I becoming anxious about the end of my trip, so I will sum up my remaining adventures in one paragraph. I made my way north, where I went rock climbing in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs and stopped to give a homeless lady a bag of groceries as well as a bible that she asked for. From there I visited Denver, where my truck was assaulted by wind to the point that as I slept it felt like my vehicle was being physically pushed by people outside. I made a brief visit to Boulder, where I met up with my friend and former boss, Laura, who showed me around campus, took me out to eat, and then allowed me to stay the night on her very comfortable couch. The next morning I had a fun photoshoot with a 19 year old argentine foster mom. That afternoon I set out on a two day, 22 hour, 1200 mile drive east and south through Kansas, Missouri (where I saw two horse and buggies riding down the highway), Arkansas (where a friendly guy gave me 5 quarts of oil for my truck even though I told him that I had plenty), mississippi, and finally sweet home Alabama.