We stopped by our first National Park on a recommendation from a gentleman who we met while traveling (Thanks, Bill!!). The park is located near Alamosa, Colorado, which is in the San Luis Valley-- a valley that is the size of Connecticut. There is not much in this valley... a few ranches and a couple gas stations. Alamosa itself is a small town with a young population. We found some delicious pizza there!
Although the sand dunes were a little bit of a drive from the campground, it was well worth the drive. The Dunes were nearly 700 feet tall and hiking them sure was a challenge! When we got to the top of one of the dunes, we had to sit down for a bit because the wind had picked up tremendously and was spitting sand at us--ouch!!! What a neat hike though. You could even hike barefoot! However that's not recommended in the summer months because the sand can reach 140 degrees!! Visitors can also rent sleds to slide down the hills on.
We also stopped to see the UFO Watchtower, which I had read about in a book called "Weird Colorado". It was weird alright. There were plenty of wooden aliens and sculptures in the town of Hooper, pointing to where the "Watchtower" was. The watchtower was just a small platform about 15 feet off the ground that you could climb and check out the alien gardens people had made, hoping to connect with the extra-terrestrials. Unfortunately, we got there after sunset, so we didn't get to chat with the owner or anything, but what a strange place!