Spring on Tatooine

Ah, salaaam and good evening to you worthy Travellers,

Part 4, Pussy on the road…

The second biggest reason I took this trip was to experience The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.  I can’t say with 100% certainty where I saw the video/photos online that peaked my interest in this place, but I can say that EVERYONE should 100% go here once in their life. Go in the Spring when it’s cooler and uncrowded. But first let’s talk about the drive there…

The drive between Rio Rancho and this place was a two lane highway through desert ranch lands, as in one lane each way. I felt like I was off the map in some foreign land. A more seasoned traveler would have enjoyed the hell out of it, whereas I, the amateur, alternately super enjoyed about 7-9 minutes and then kinda panicked/lost my shit for about 3 minutes worrying my Maps app was WRONG and I was LOST!! But I NEVER WAS…and eventually I started calling the Maps voice Fifi and it all worked out. I stopped panicking. I think this drive and destination is where I really decided road trips were something I could really get behind. Really this drive and this day were life altering in many ways. I know that sounds GRANDIOSE, but it’s 100% true. Maybe we can say, EYE OPENING, if that would make everyone more comfortable.

Music, of course…

The most fantastical thing about this whole situation is it’s remotenesss and abruptness, as in here we are in your standard flat desert, Oh, there are some mountains and what the hell is that? A sand dunes mirage? I can only speculate how the pioneers felt when they first laid eyes on it. And what did the Native Americans think of this place when they found it because to say it has a certain spiritual mystical feeling would be an understatement, but we’ll get to that…Also, it’s quite massive, about 30 miles of dunes, the highest peak is Star Dune, which is 750 feet high. These are actually the highest dunes in North America….in the middle of a flat Southwest style desert surrounded by mountains. You get the point. It would’ve been quite difficult to just go around it on your horse or in your wagon. And even now, there is only one road in and one road out.

Let’s go…

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Wow, right?? Just WOW…hang on to your knickers, it gets even better.

First, I went to the visitor center to learn how to reach the dunes and climb my ass off. Did I not mention I came to climb these things?..which to be fair I’m not sure climbing is the word, but we’ll get to that here in a hot second…here is the way in…..

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Actually I parked in the nearby lot and this was the lead in shrubbery if you will… not

We arrive…

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I was there in April so Medano Creek was dry, which would be right here in front of us. Actually I would’ve been standing in it when I took this photo. I’m not sure why they call it a creek, in all the photos I’ve seen it looks more like a glorified, elongated puddle. I guess one person’s creek is another person’s puddle right?

These pictures really don’t capture the full effect of the wonder of this moment. And it’s quite a walk to get to the base of the dunes, and mind you I’m an athletic human. If you look closely at this photo, I’m heading up to the highest peak. I wasn’t messing around when it comes to serious adventure and self determination!!  It’s the second tallest in the park, 700 feet, it’s called High Dune…HERE WE GO…

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Looking back from where I started…if you zoom in, you can see the parking lot and shrub line..this isn’t the top yet…

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And now we are in it to win it…

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Earlier when I was walking towards the dunes, I saw several people who had taken off their shoes. I thought to myself, that might be smart. One, the sand in the shoes gets old fast and two, your toes were made for grabbing, so somewhere around here, in my ascent, I actually took off my shoes, left my socks on and put my shoes on my hands. Because I’m a practical kind of girl who did not care how I looked crawling up the sand. And I had a smaller backpack on which kept annoyingly drifting around my mid section. As I said earlier, I don’t think I climbed this mountain as much as sorta crawled up in the mountain climber position that I have assumed so many times exercising in the gym. It’s really f*cking difficult to climb something that is constantly moving away underneath your feet and hands. AND that you are sinking into while trying to stay on top. Each time I thought the apex was within a few feet, I would look up again and really not so much…I won’t lie, I had to take a few breaks, seriously they should train Navy Seals out here…The altitude, the sand, the never ending climb..but then…

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I got there…this is the top, the top crest of High Dune and as I type this months later, it makes me smile AND my eyes well up, because I can’t describe to you what the top of the dune is like…it’s beyond quiet.. serene and soundless…NO SOUND, just a gentle breeze and one random passing bee, and there was just this feeling…I made this journey up all on my own and here’s my Oprah moment, I felt like I was enough, on my own. Like I said in my last post, this was the time for this journey and the feeling of rightnesss was so clear.

Here’s some views from the top. In the second pic, the little specks on the lower dunes are people! Gives you a better sense of the height of this dune…

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I sat on top of the dune for about a half an hour and let my mind wander. Are you ready for my weird thoughts? Sure you are…first, jokingly, I reckon all the inhabitants of Tatooine, Star Wars reference people, the original, not this rediculous sequel nonsense,  must have had calf muscles for days…seriously, all that sand, walking forever, chasing Jawas…sheesh…then I sat for awhile and just breathed, doing my best to commit this whole endeavor to memory…

Passing thought #2…I’m a person who believes that reincarnation MAY be real. I say MAY because if we are honest, no one gets see behind that curtain until it’s time. Part of this belief oddly comes from science, because I’m a practical soul. Einstein’s theory of conservation of energy, that energy is never created nor destroyed, it just changes forms. The thing in us that we call a soul, I think it’s an energy. An energy that all living things here on Earth have inside them. An energy that truly binds us all. (Yes, I am aware Einstein was talking about a closed system, so what if we consider Earth a closed system and think about all the souls and their energy…just ponder it, I’m not claiming to be Bill Ney here people.)

Anyhoo, my energy has always been drawn to Egypt. No idea why. I can’t help but feel that Ancient Egypt was my home at some point here on Earth, centuries ago, in another life…siting here on the dunes, it felt even more so, like a memory of home. I know that sounds possibly ridiculous to you, I know,  but truly, have you ever had a transcendent experience in life? What is sacred to each of us is a mystery to others.

Lastly, I thought about Mopsy…because cats were worshipped as gods in Egypt. I wondered where her energy was at that moment and if I’ll see her again or if I had known her before…I thought she would look at this place and see the world’s largest litter box!! And I sent her my gratitude for inspiring me to set out into the world. If you’re thinking, good grief, it’s just a cat, I say to you, animals are souled just like us and whose to say that they are not messengers for us mere mortals. Just because we don’t understand something doesn’t mean it isn’t possible, does it?

Obviously what goes up has to come down, and so I negotiated my way back down the dune. As you are going down, the sand moves almost like water around your feet and it’s slippery and sinking all at once…

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Just look at it. Easily one of the best days of my entire life and that is no overstatement. I realized here how much I have missed by not using my vacation time to wander, travel and see this amazing world. I’m coming back here in October for my birthday, only at night and with some family because I hear it’s a completely different experience. Imagine this place under the spell of the moon. OF COURSE, I will write all about it!!

As far as a movie, and despite my other tangent thoughts, I think Aladdin is what I’m feeling you should watch. On top of the dune, I had a quick random thought that a magic carpet could arrive at any moment. The other thing about the dunes is that they remind me of one of the most influential frame stories and oldest pieces of literature ever written, 1001 Arabian Nights, which is where Aladdin comes from and one of the bravest heroines ever written, Shahrazad. Maybe read that…

I leave the choice with you…

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