The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in southern Colorado materializes like a mirage at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
To hike the dunes you must first cross Medano Creek, which spreads its icy-cold waters only inches deep.
Tom carrying his hiking boots across the creek.
There is no specific trail up High Dune, but footsteps converge on the ridges.
A fashionable young climber sports a purple makeshift cape to shield her from the sun.
Kids and adults use sand board and sand sleds to slide down the steep slopes.
The spot I gave in to the Goddess of the Dunes and stopped to contemplate her beauty.
My view from the stopping spot.
A shot Tom took from higher up the dune.
Driving toward the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, you start to see tan ripples at the base of towering, snow-covered mountains, like a mirage wavering on the edge of your consciousness. Are they really there?