Some Things Are Cool

"You don't know if you don't go."

April 10, 2016

National Park Cliff Notes: Great Sand Dunes NP – Colorado



Great Sand Dunes National Park is geologic curiosity of the American West.


At over 700 feet (213 m), these dunes are the tallest in North America, but it’s their location, not their size, that makes them so interesting. Without a desert environment to belong to, the dunes occupy a six mile wide pocket nestled into the foothills of the Sangre de Christo Mountains. It’s believed that snowmelt and rain water washed the sand down from the mountains only to have strong winds from the southwest sweep it back up there. These competing forces collected the sand into one big heap which, from first impression, seems sorely out of place.


Must See:Great Sand Dunes Loc

Medano Creek runs between the sand and mountains forming the eastern border of the dune field. Its soft shallow bottom makes it ideal for kids to play around in. The creek also exhibits a rare hydrologic condition called “pulse flow” where waves of increased flowrate travel downstream.


Off the Beaten Path:

Backpacking is permitted in both the mountains and the dunes. I appreciate the sense of solitude I get when camping in dunes. Unfortunately, the wind whipped up in the early morning before sunrise, and since I was camping without a tent I had to stumble awake and relocate.


Next Time:

Attention Off-Road Vehicle Owners: Medano Pass Primitive Road is an outrageously scenic northern access route which connects down to the parks visitor center in the south. This is the only thru road in the park. High ground clearance and 4WD required – consider timing your visit with the Fall color change during late September / early October.


For more information on my visit, check out my post.


Park Information:

National Park Service Website / Map


Google Maps Location

Medano Pass Primitive Road


P1070587 (1)-2

April 8, 2016

Destination Alaska

In a month and a half I am flying up to Alaska to work for a bush plane company operating out of Wrangel St. Elias National Park and Preserve (map / wiki).


When I visited Wrangel St. Elias National Park last year it made a lasting impression on me. (more…)

March 29, 2016

National Park Cliff Notes: Acadia NP – Maine




Established in 1928, Acadia National Park is the oldest national park east of the Mississippi River.


The park protects approximately half of Mount Desert Island (more…)


Trip Highlights


I made up a visual index of my best stories from the road.


This is where I recommend you start.




Photo Gallery


My favorite pictures from across the country, individually annotated and organized by state.




National Park Cliff Notes


Short descriptions of the history and geography of each national park with a few recommendations on what to do.



Jump to a random national park



The less well known parks are better because of their obscurity.