I packed up camp on Thursday morning and headed South toward Great Sand Dunes National Monument. It's somewhere I've always wondered about. It was so unique that I'm glad I went. Hiking on the dunes can be challenging. First, there's no real feel of how steep a particular path is until you get close - and then you realize that it's very steep and the going gets tough. While there's usually a line of compacted sand that's pretty easy to walk on, there are many sections of loose sand that makes you struggle to gain ground. I usually ended up with boots full of sand quickly after I started walking.
During the first afternoon, I hiked a little way onto the dune but was a little wary of a huge threatening thunderstorm. This is a panoramic view of the thunderstorm (composed of 4 images) and a portion of the dune. It never did rain back at camp, though.