Colin Schindler
Photography, cycling, wandering, wondering...

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Leaving Colorado and Xmas

We had a blast in Colorado. We got to hang out with some cool people, try a few new things, and get to know a few more places. Denver in particular I like a little more. Voodoo Doughtnuts stand out, Cherry Creek park was a natural surprise we didn't expect in the big city.

Michelle @ Cherry Creek State Park.

Michelle @ Cherry Creek State Park.

Michelle played her final Colorado show at McCarthy's Sports Bar and Grill and we set south the very next day.

Michelle at McCarthy's.

Michelle @ McCarthy's

We swung through Colorado Springs on Christmas morning and checked out the Garden of the Gods. Surprisngly, there were a ton of people there, mostly foreign, but it was still cool, ha. The Sprinter going through the Garden of the Gods.

The Sprinter going through the Garden of the Gods.

The Garden of the Gods.

The Garden of the Gods.

Michelle in the Garden.

Michelle posin'

Further into the gardens.

Further into the gardens.

Sprinter outside of the Great Sand Dunes.

On leaving the park we made a last minute decision to cut West into the mountains and head south through the San Luis Valley. I'm glad we did this as it introduced me to a part of Colorado I was unaware of; a flat, high desert surrounded by mountains. Before night fell we wandered into Great Sand Dunes National Park and raced the sunset scrambling towards what we discovered later to be High Dune. I really enjoyed these dunes and expected them to be much smaller. They are really, really big sand dunes.

Sprinter outside of the Great Sand Dunes.

Snow field before getting to the base of the sand dunes.

Snow field before getting to the base of the sand dunes.

Bright and windy.

Bright and windy.

Starting to climb the dunes.

Starting to climb the dunes.

Michelle trudging up with Blanca Peak in the background.

Michelle trudging up with Blanca Peak in the background.

Michelle being a boss.

Michelle being a boss.

Finally getting out of the snow and seeing some sand.

Finally getting out of the snow and seeing some sand.

Blanca peak

Blanca peak

Sand being blown about with the sun hitting the horizon.

Sand being blown about with the sun hitting the horizon.

Pretty sand

Such pretty sand.

A mix of snow and sand blowing into my face.

A mix of snow and sand blowing into my face.

It felt pretty good struggling up the mix of sand and snow and getting there just as the sun was hitting the horizon. The temps noticably started to chill in the newly arrived dusk as I started to lumber back down the duneside. I paused to watch a lone distant figure with a giant backpack. He was stopped, presumably gazing around, about halfway towards a still far away, much larger dune deeper into the sands. After a brief moment he turned and resumed his slow pace up the dunes. What an interesting site I thought this. Christmas day, all alone, stoically walking up and into very large sand dunes in the now dark. I assume he was going to spend the night camping in the dunes. It got to -8 degrees that night. What a legend...

Now that this crazy dude kind of took the wind from my sails, I headed back towards the van. Some people can be really impressive, and I'm glad when I see them. That night our heater failed to start as we were 3000 feet higher than the fuel pump was rated for. We ate some Christmas pasta with ghost pepper hot sauce, put on all our layers of cold weather gear and went to bed. It got cold, that guy out in the dunes, Jesus...

Nothing better than Christmas pasta in bed.

Nothing better than Christmas pasta in bed.

And the worst part, dishes...

And the worst part, dishes...