Albuquerque was so much fun...Friday night Mary took us to the 48 Hour Film Festival and her boyfriend won overall for his graphics in their film so we all went out to celebrate afterwards. The next day, Hamp cooked us all a huge brunch and then we went to Casa Rodena Vineyard http://www.casarondena.com/ for a tasting...this was our first official vineyard tasting and it was superfun!! The staff was really relaxed so it didn't feel stuffy...the four of us shared a bottle and cheese plate on the patio overlooking the vines. After a whole day of vino drinking we didn't feel much like hiking to a camp so we stayed at Mary's and cooked out.
We left Albuquerque with intentions of spending the night in Taos but once we got there we realized how close we were to the Great Sand Dunes National Park so we decided to drive on...Taos was really cool though...there were tons of little artsy shops and restaurants lining the main street and all the buildings were so colorful.
The Great Sand Dunes were absolutely incredible!!! The terrain of the road into the park was kind of "high desert"...not totally barren but definitely not SC...then as you get closer to the entrance the mountains are completely closing in on you and then you see the dunes...they look like something you would see in Saudi Arabia w/camels walking across them.
We got the LAST camping spot available in the park!! We waited until the sun went down to save the boys' paws from being blistered and then hiked the dunes...it was so cool!! Going up the dunes was super hard (for us, not Kota...he ran full steam the entire time we were there) but going back down was worth the hike...you could run and it was like you were in slow motion..such a strange feeling.
The next day a primo camping spot opened up and we jumped on it!! It had the perfect amount of shade and trees all around so we were separated from the other campsites better than before and we had a picture-perfect view of the dunes:
Both days we were there, we hiked to Zapata Falls:
Hamp made a ton of GoPro videos of inside the falls in the cave and of the boys running of the dunes, but our connection is not strong enough to upload them just yet...so hopefully we'll find high-speed soon b/c they're so cool!!
After leaving the park we headed farther west to South Fork, Colorado, which is where we are camping on the Rio Grande...the river is strong and freezing cold but in front of our camp site is shallow enough that we can jump rocks and walk pretty far. Totally on accident, we chose the same campsite that they used to shoot National Lampoon's Vacation...which is a huge plus for Hamp since those are some of his fav movies...so of couse he needed to ring the cowbell:
Oh yeah...on the way from the dunes to South Fork we got to go inside one of the Earthships...the totally recycle-built homes that are completely self-sustainable and powered by 100% solar/wind energy...this was awesome b/c we've seen so many documentaries on these homes:
Yesterday in South Fork, we hiked where Spanish monks traveled in covered wagons over 200 years ago and up to a Natural Arch on top of an old volcano:
Today, we've planned a hike that will take us 5 miles up to a lake in Rio Grande National Forest...so hopefully we can post our GoPro videos and pics from today soon!!