Colorado: Rafting, Sand Dunes, and Hiking (Aug 9-14)

We had family visiting from Connecticut, so we did a whirlwind tour of some fun Colorado activities.

Jack, Tony, Meg, and Mike at Rock Cut in Rocky

We did the obligatory drive up into Rocky Mountain National Park on Trail Ridge Road and walked around near Rock Cut.

On the trail near Rock Cut

Scrambling near Rock Cut

We also had some fun at the Climbing Gym at the Estes Park Mountain Shop.

Climbing at the Estes Park Mountain Shop

Mike on belay

Then we hit the road to go rafting in Brown's Canyon on the Arkansas River. As always, Wilderness Aware in Buena Vista did a great job.

Construction delays on Hwy 24 on the way to Buena Vista, Colorado

Our group rafting "Zoom Flume" whitewater in Brown's Canyon on the Arkansas River

After the rafting, we drove down to Alamosa, Colorado to explore Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

The night we arrived was the full moon, so we drove to Great Sand Dunes as the moon was rising, and then played on the dunes by moonlight.

The next morning, we returned to the dunes with 2 sand sleds and a sandboard. It was really fun to take the grandkids to the highest dunes in North America.

About to go across Medano Creek to the Dunes

On the dunes

Sledding down the dunes


Posing with a sand dune garden of sunflowers

Hiking on the dunes

Panorama, looking east

On the top of High Dune, about 700' above the valley floor

After Great Sand Dunes, we returned to Estes Park where we hiked up to Gem Lake and climbed on the rocks above it.

On the way to Gem Lake, near "Paul Bunyan's Boot"

Scrambling on the rocks above Gem Lake

Pano taken above Gem Lake (lower right)

Hand stands are almost always a good idea :-)

Gem Lake from above

And we couldn't resist going to Ride-A-Kart to play minigolf and do the amusement park thing.

Minigolf at Ride-A-Kart

Go Karts!

And bumper boats!