Advice from a Sand Dune

My gluten-free diet was gone with the wind: I’d just finished a giant stack of probably the best tasting pancakes I’d ever had. Checking out at the Oasis Restaurant next to Great Sand Dunes National Park, I was thankful for a warm moment after a night of snow flurries and sleet in the coldest May of my life.


Andres had the ultimate breakfast of champs after several days of cold nights



My fingers just couldn’t face another morning of cutting fruit for our usual breakfast of oatmeal, as yummy as it is with spices and fruit. We’d slept in the car again the night before, laughing at our little tent which now housed most of our gear.

But don’t mistake these words for complaining.

I loved every moment of the wind biting my cheeks, and how could I not with a view of such vibrancy behind me? The Piñon Flats Campground has probably been the best campground I’ve camped in with its spacious sites and proximity to the tallest dunes of North America. Some call it a playground for all, while I call it a gem of this country nestled between rugged mountains and flatlands so vast you can go for miles without feeling like you’ve moved at all.

The stillness of this place is breathtaking. We backpacked one night into the dunes with gear that surely wasn’t meant for backpacking, but we made it to a spot surrounded by sandy slopes on all sides. Hot sunshine of the day contrasted so strongly with the chill of night. The darkness was brightened by a clear sky of stars and the silence around me seemed to roar with whispers of the wind. It was a frigid night for someone who feels cold most of the time.

A highlight of that trip was watching Andres’s sleeping bag snap off his pack as we descended from the tallest dune.

By the time it stopped you could barely tell it apart from the very grains of sand clinging to our skin. Finding it added about an extra hour of trekking to the journey, but we found it.

And so on the recent cold morning I savored every bite of those buttery warm pancakes and then smiled at a quote I saw hanging on the wall. These words are probably the best advice I’ve read in a long time, so we had to share with you.

Advice from a Sand Dune

Soak up the sunshine.
Stay loose.
Keep moving.
Embrace winds of change.
Make positive ripples.
Don’t get carried away.
Show your true grit!

-Ilan Shamir

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