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Old 10-07-2008, 05:29 PM   #1
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Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

With winter coming the Great Sand Dunes weren't crowded, but the river was also low. The real fun was driving up to the pass and camping in the Preserve. (don't miss the vidoes at the bottom)












D'oh!



There are a few more pictures in my Album, but here is the best part (not the greatest video). Medano Pass itself was hairy! Actually the SMB walked it like a trip to the grocery, but it was hairy for the driver!



Video going up 50MB
Video going down 36MB (fixed)

Both at "reasonable" size 50KB
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Old 10-07-2008, 05:37 PM   #2
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Great shots. Beautiful scenery.

Lookin' good on the climb man. Sucks how videos never do anything justice.
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Old 10-07-2008, 06:23 PM   #3
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The wife and I were out there the first week or so of September. Nice park, loved the dunes, quiet campground with lots of deer joining you for breakfast. We drove the Medano pass road about 5 miles, just crossed the first creek and then turned around. We don't have much experience off road and had no idea how long it would have taken to cross the entire thing.
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Old 10-07-2008, 06:23 PM   #4
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Gorgeous!
Excellent shots
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:24 PM   #5
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Awesome shots Jage! I especially like the pic of the Rocky Mountain pinstriping being applied!

I was in the Dunes many years ago before it became a national park with our Land Rover Discovery. Lots of lessons learned about driving in sand!

What can you share about the pass you drove? Where does it start and where does it come out? I don't fancy myself as a off-road driving wiz and the wife definitely makes her opinions known once the pucker factor starts increasing.
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:30 PM   #6
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50MB each Jage? You're killing me, or more accurately my computer. Guess I'll have to see if I can't open them at work.


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Old 10-07-2008, 08:12 PM   #7
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Great shots. And great video, but for me both links appear to be the same video. No?

Regardless, fun to see.
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikewTV
Great shots. And great video, but for me both links appear to be the same video. No?

Regardless, fun to see.
I just played it in reverse to see him expertly backing down the same section.
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lactic
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikewTV
Great shots. And great video, but for me both links appear to be the same video. No?

Regardless, fun to see.
I just played it in reverse to see him expertly backing down the same section.
Yeah I fixed it... copypasta error.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:49 AM   #10
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OK, I added Both at "reasonable" size 50KB. Working with video isn't my favorite past time.

If you're doing Medano Pass I would recommend coming from Highway 69 near Bradford and taking Cr-559. Cr-559 goes through a bunch of closed ranch roads that show up as unpaved on the GPS but are gated. There may be another way in so I'm providing a point along the road.

Turn-off 69: N37 50.190 W105 18.468
On the road to Medano Pass: N37 52.052 W105 22.357

Ranch road turns to forest road and ATVs are allowed. The road is pretty good all the way up, with the exception of the video which is about a 1/2 mile or less from the gate.

From the section of the video you can go down where I came up or to the right will be a less used road that continues up a bit and flattens out. They both go to the gate, but the upper road doesn't seem to be used that much.

At the gate there is a campsite to the left and another road taking off to the right following the border the forest land and Dunes Preserve. Go through the gate and you're headed down into the Preserve and the Dunes.

The good thing about going this way is that the Preserve campsites are numbered (48 I think was the highest) but you can pick and choose based on descending numbers. Coming the other way they are consecutively numbered from site 1 through about site 24. Then they start to skip around leaving about 35 sites in total, but there are plenty to choose from. Many are flat where you can park, although several are just a parking space on a bad slope with a path going to the campsite for tenters. All have anti-bear food storage lockers and nice fire pits.

The road conditions are great 4 wheeling with only a few pucker factor spots. It would be gnarly if it was a little wet, but slip and slide gnarly, not smash your van up gnarly. Everything was very doable in the van and all the water crossings had hard bottoms.

Once you get through the preserve to the Dunes (N37 48.153 W105 29.877) camping is no longer allowed and the road turns sandy. You'll want to air down (might as well air down on the Hwy 69 side). I was at 48 front and 52 rear and did fine, although if I were going this way I would air down further for the sandy road (going the other way I was facing unknown 4x4 road and didn't want to wind up lower than I needed to be from the sand- the curse of not having a good on board air system).

There is a campground in the Dunes which was OK but of course you're neck and neck with other campers and staring out the van window at some guy who just runs his grey water hose out the side of his trailer, ironically dumping right next to one of 100 "this is Bear Country don't do stupid stuff that will bring the bears and ultimately get them killed".

Between the dunes and the campsite are a few good parking areas.

Anyway, the best thing about going this way is that the park has a free air compressor once you hit pavement. Going the other way you either have to drive slow back to the Interstate or have onboard air. I skipped the Costco compressor and drove at 45 out to the I-25 interchange which is the first place we found air.
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