We’ve been rambling along since Missouri , stopping only for brief overnight stays. We stayed at a small campsite in Kansas at the base of a dam on Fall River Lake, it was spacious and we were comfortable with full hookups, but we were in a dead zone for cell and Internet reception.
The following night we stayed 7 hours away at a small KOA campground in La Junta, CO. It was right on the highway and no more than a gravel lot with a few trees but it gave us an opportunity to take a good long hot shower, refill our propane, stock up at the Walmart next door and gear up for the 4 hour drive to our next stop at Great Sand Dunes National Park.
There, we camped at a small scenic campground overlooking the mountains and the dunes, it was private for a small campground and we had a large picnic area complete with grazing deer (much to River’s delight). After we set up camp we walked down a short trail from our campsite to hike the dunes. It was an incredible and curious wonder that left me mystified at how they came to be. What forces of nature molded the earth to create such a uniquely magnificent landscape.
We were too restless to settle in for long and eager to journey deep into the heart of Colorado, so we decided to rise early and head out towards The Black Canyon of Gunnison National Forest. The drive was almost as gratifying as the destination. We rode in silent admiration as the Rocky mountains flowed endlessly in a wave of peaks and valleys, weathered and wise. Winding streams lay like snakes at the feet of stone giants and the aspens glittered like gold amongst the evergreens. It was the first time my small town Alabama eyes had seen mountains. They were just something I accepted to be true, I had seen the pictures and heard of their beauty but the reality was so much grander than I imagined.
After I spent the whole morning wide eyed looking up, we arrived at The Black Canyon and I proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon slack-jawed and dizzy, cautiously peering over the steep cliffs to the Gunnison River Below. The river carved at the rock for two million years, revealing the story of earth, written in the haunting depths of its great walls. Each layer of rock depicting a different landscape in a strange forgotten world.
I could look upon all these wonders a thousand times and never truly comprehend their grandeur, I fear the majesty of their beauty lies in their enigmatic nature. These mountains and canyons have served as the unspoken sentinels of history and time and a muse for those of us hoping to glimpse its secrets.
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