Great Sand Dunes National Park

I went on the road for a couple days this week. Mostly to clear my mind and not really to make photos, though inevitably a few were shot. I wasn't really sure where I was going to end up, but I found myself at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in the southern part of Colorado. It's about five hours away from Boulder and it sits on the edge of the snow-topped mountains like it fell off a map of the Sahara by mistake. The dunes are staggeringly and deceptively tall, the even tones and gradients of the mounds making them seem much smaller than they actually are. If you haven't been, I highly recommend it. There's certainly no shortage of mountains here in Colorado, but none of them have made me feel quite as small – and refreshed – as these dunes. I mean, it's essentially a massive sandbox (a thought which led to a massive kid smile on my face as I walked up to them), and who couldn't love that?

If you do make the trip, I suggest staying at Valley View Hot Springs about an hour north of the national park. It's a treasure of preserved land with wonderful hot springs (clothing-optional), a friendly staff, and plenty of quiet space.