Great Sand Dunes National Park

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The clues were as follows: a citronella candle, a few sticks of firewood, a half finished “Polynesian” flavored barbeque bottle, a bottle of bug spray, and a bit of charcoal. All items were found within the campsite’s bear box (a metal box with a trick lock that both frustrates hungry bears and, due to it’s loud creaky noise, is guaranteed to wake up anyone sleeping within a seven campsite radius). We took a pass on the sauce, but the firewood came in handy. What did we do to deserve such generous gifts?

The campsite’s other riddle was easier to solve. To our annoyance, several very large boulders were scattered about like Stonehenge exactly where we hoped to set up our tent. So first we had to move the rocks, then we set up our tent, and then we attempted to stake it all down. But sand makes a very poor foundation and, thus, we had to pick up those same pesky boulders, which by this time where heavier, and use them to keep down the tent.

So back to the clues. After a long day of sand hiking, sand sitting, and sand staring we proceeded to make a fire. Dinner was fine and then, like a plague out of Egypt, the mosquitoes descended upon us. The smart one, Henna, retired to the tent but Corey and I valiantly lit our one citronella candle (thanks Tim and Linnea) which seemed to do nothing but irritate the little buggers. Defeated we joined Henna.

A few hours later came the winds. Powerful winds that blew sand into our tent and at times actually seemed to almost lift the tent a millimeter up. Our poorly grounded rain flap became unbound and flapped like a loud bird. Corey and I had to yell to be heard and twice we courageously ventured outside only to return with sand in our eyes. It was immediately after one of these episodes that we suddenly understood the true nature of the objects. They were not gifts so much as objects left behind in fright.

 

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