Monday, July 25, 2016

Mesa Verde National Park Photo Journal

Mesa Verde National Park is not only one of the first National Parks in the US, it's also a World Heritage Site. I can see why. Exploring the ancient homes of the Ancestral Pueblo people was like stepping back in time. This was a great stop on our National Park to Park Highway tour.

It's called Mesa Verde for a good reason. Look at all that green.
Little G explores Balcony House

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What to Do With Kids at Great Sand Dunes National Park

On this National Park to Park Highway adventure, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve was a welcome respite after the crowds at Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone National Parks. This park is more remote and less developed than most National Parks we've visited which meant that we found some of the solitude we've come to associate with being in the outdoors.

Great Sand Dunes has fewer developed trails and roads because the main attraction is the field of giant sand dunes the park was established to protect, including the tallest sand dune in North America. You wouldn't think a mountain of sand would appear between the plains and mountains of Colorado, without a drop of ocean in sight, but they're there and lots of fun to play in.

If you're planning a trip to Great Sand Dunes be sure to bring bug spray. The mosquitoes were nasty in the campground and on the hike to the dunes. Once on the dunes the breeze and lack of vegetation kept the blood sucking beasts away.

In addition to climbing dunes, sand sledding and castle building, enjoy these activities at Great Sand Dunes Park and Preserve.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Great Sand Dunes National Park Photo Journal

Our National Park to Park Highway tour visits more than the twelve National Parks the 1920s group visited. This one, Great Sand Dunes National Park was like going to the beach, only without the ocean. Enjoy scenes from this unique park that protects the largest sand dune in North America. Just be glad you weren't there to get attacked by mosquitoes. I counted 25 bites on my calf alone by the time we left.
Medano Creek
Moon over the Dunes
Sand and El Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Go Jump in a Lake!

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If Mountain Dad had an outdoor super power it would be finding swimming holes in whatever place we go. Back on our practice trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks we beat the heat by splashing in the Virgin River and exploring behind the waterfall at Mossy Cave. In Yellowstone we swam in the boiling river near Mammoth, the Firehole River swim area and found a secret spot just down river from Ojo Caliente hot spring.

Water is a main attraction on this National Park to Park Highway trip. For that reason I was glad when Safe Spash swim school approached me to review their program a month before we left. Big E and Little G have taken swim lessons before, but Safe Splash's program is a little different. Instead of a two week intensive swim camp where your kid may or may not advance to the next level, SafeSplash offers weekly classes a lot like piano lessons. Kids go once a week and move up in levels once they've accomplished all the skills.