Doing the Dunes
Since the drive today would be less, the Pastor decided to be more generous with the drive-break ratio. He chose a shaded, picnic area outside of Bent’s Old Fort for a lunch break. As we ate, he made the decision for us to tour the old adobe walled structure. Inside, there were multiple buildings that replicated the carpentry, blacksmithing, cooking, and sleeping areas that once provided services to the travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. It also held a store and a post office. The people were in traditional garb and gave a thorough tour. It was time to move on to our destination of the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado.
As we left Kansas, the speed limit went from 65 mph to 35 mph in a very short distance at the town of Holly, Colorado. I was bringing up the rear, trying to slow to the speed limit and yet keep up with the other two vans when red lights began to flash behind me. I was doing about forty mph and immediately pulled over. I explained to the officer that I had slowed and was trying to keep up with the others, also sharing that we were on our way to church camp at the Wilds. I handed him the registration and insurance papers. When he saw that the vehicles were registered to a church, he gave me a lecture and allowed us to go with a warning.
As we started into the Great Sands Dunes Park, a light shower started and the sky filled with rainbows. There were two rainbows at first that split into three, then four. They appeared, disappeared, and blended. One rainbow had huge thick bands when two merged before the rain stopped and the bows disappeared.
We drove to the parking area by the dunes. They were remarkable. Wave after wave the dunes lifted five stories above their bases. It was tremendous. The dunes were formed when the wind blew sand and small pebbles into the apex of a triangle formed by the tail end of the Rocky Mountains and the Sangre, de Christo Mountains. The winds weren’t strong enough to lift the debris up and over.
Clouds pushed up and over the mountains. We hurried to get out tents up and the meal cooked. It began to storm just after the food was cooked and we ate in our tents. It was dark, except for the brilliant streaks of lightning and the ground shook with the thunder. We actually thought we would feel the bottoms of our tents tingle with the bolts of lightning.
The adults tried dodging raindrops to be sure that all the food supplies were cleaned up and locked it all away. There were bears and we were warned by a ranger to be sure everything was locked where the bears couldn’t get at it.
The storm finally abated. Only the dripping of water from the surrounding trees broke the silence. The fire had been quenched in the rain and it was so very dark. No lights interfered with the view of the heavenly bodies and the stars were bright and seemingly close enough to touch. We fell asleep, breathing air that was cool, pure, and freshly washed.