My husband and I love the outdoors. We attempt to spend as much time as life will allow exploring and adventuring throughout our home state of Colorado. We love all seasons and thoroughly enjoy snowshoeing and snow camping.
A few years ago in February, we decided to pack up our winter gear and head to Great Sand Dunes National Park. The only campground that is open in the winter is the Zapata Falls campground. The road to this campground can be a rough one and is not plowed or maintained in the winter. When we hit the Zapata Falls road there was about two feet of snow already built up from previous storms, thankfully our Jeep made easy work of the road and we found a campsite in no time. It had started to snow a bit as we were setting up camp but we didn’t think much of it, we were prepared and ready for the adventure!
Once camp was set up, we went and snuggled into bed; we were surprisingly warm for the time of year and amount of snowfall. At around 1am, I awoke to the tent touching my face. I looked outside the tent and was greeted with a fierce blizzard. It had snowed at least 2 feet since we had fallen asleep. I knew we were in a pickle, it was still snowing and at this point the road was covered in at least 4 feet of snow. I knew we had to get back down the Zapata Falls road or risk being stuck for a few days. I shook my husband awake and we began breaking camp. The snow was intensifying as we went about breaking camp and we realized we were facing serious trouble if we didn’t move fast. We shoved everything into the back of the jeep and began our trek back down the road.
As we drove we could not see anything. The darkness of night coupled with the blizzard made visibility nonexistent. We slowly crawled down the road until we finally reached the paved road. We knew this would be plowed so decided to sleep in the car on the side of the paved road leading into GSDNP. When we awoke in the morning we found a magical winter wonder land. The snow was up past the wheel well on the car and we knew we were lucky we had gotten out when we did. We drove down to the dunes and were greeted but the most indescribable scene. The dunes looked like giant piles of snow and were sparkling white. We ventured out onto the dunes and my breath was utterly stolen by the scenery.
While we may not have had the most amount of sleep, and were still a little rattled, that scenery will always hold a special place in my mind. We are going to head to the Dunes again this winter, and maybe this time we will check the weather!