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Colorado Vacation Post #5: Great Sand Dunes & Bents Old Fort

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Well, we’re nearing the end of our Colorado vacation posts now.  Be sure to check out the other posts in the Colorado Vacation series if you like this one!

(See Vacation Post #1 here, Vacation Post #2 here, and Vacation Post #3 hereVacation Post #4 here.)

We left Vail and traveled to the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado.  I grew up in El Paso and spent many happy times playing at  White Sands, NM, so  I had visions of my kids climbing up the dunes, sliding and rolling down.   Well, let me tell you, the Great Sand Dunes are, unfortunately, not the same as White Sands!  We drove as close as we could, but the foot of the dunes were still about 1/4 of a mile away.  My 4-year-old daughter had been sick for four days, (vomiting and not eating), so I tried walking with her and the other girls (carrying the baby in an Ergo carrier) and only got about 50 feet before the heat got to her and she was too weak to go on.  So, we went back to the van.  My husband had taken off with the four boys and did make it to the dune, but was carrying our 2-year-old on his shoulders.  When they reached the dunes, the wind started blowing and was too much for the little guys, so he headed back, leaving the older boys to see how far they could get.  It just wasn’t a fun place for little kids.  The only people there were heavy-duty hikers who were there to “conquer” climbing to the top (which took about an hour).  Oh, well.

See those tiny specks?  Yes, those are people.  That gives you an idea of how far away the dunes were from the car and how tall they were!

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Sunscreen and blowing sand?  Not a good combination.

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Here are some pictures of my husband and me at White Sands, NM (before kids)!

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After leaving the dunes, we drove to La Junta, CO to meet up with some of my husband’s relatives for dinner.  We had a wonderful meal of BBQ brisket and chicken, with all the fixings, including homemade pie!


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Oh, yes, this tarantula was in their backyard.  They also told us to be careful and on the lookout for rattle-snakes.  EEK!

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They also told us that since we were in La Junta, we had to be sure to go to Bents Old Fort.  We had a huge long drive the next day (to get all the way to Kansas City), but we decided to stop by for about 20 minutes.  I’m so glad we did!  It was so neat to see this refurbished fort.  It’s like an adobe castle and reminded me of everything we had studied when we did our American Girl Josefina study a few months back!


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  1. Homeschool Parenting Summit 2.0 October 16-21, 2023
  2. Love the pictures! We went to White Sands, NM when we took a trip from SC to CA and back in 2006. That was one of the Highlights of our trip! Loved it! So cool and so much fun! 🙂

    That fort looked really cool!

    The tarantula made my heart beat fast! Yikes!!

    thanks for sharing!

    1. I’d love to get my kids to White Sands. I’m sure they’ll love it. SC to CA is a LONG trip! Wow!

  3. Old Bent’s Fort is a favorite of ours! We go there nearly every year. Did you know Kit Carson’s Great Grandson works there?!

    1. No, I didn’t know that! I wish we had had more time to explore it. 🙂

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