This past weekend Darwin and I discovered a place that I have never seen the likes before, Pink Coral Sand Dunes State Park. The sand dunes started forming about 15,000 years ago as eroding Navajo Sandstone started drifting into this special area. Slowly, the drifting erosion created massive sand dunes, which are now, protected becoming a Utah State Park in 1963. Now that I gave you some technical specs if you will, let me really tell you about the sand dunes…
The road that Darwin and I took to the sand dunes had us “oohing” and “aahing” at the landscape around us before we even made it to the actual park. We felt as if we were in a world yet to be discovered; not a man-made structure in sight. Once within the park boundaries, we parked and trudged up a short trail leading up a small hill. At the top, we both fell silent, our brains trying to register what we were looking at.
Our eyes couldn’t focus on just one thing; our eyes swam over large still waves of coral colored sand below us. We had walked up the edge of a cavity of sorts and were looking into the largest sandpit I had ever seen. I immediately wanted to dive into the sand. Like an old Looney Tunes Cartoon, I had the brief perception I could swim in it. There were no sharp corners or edges; everything was smooth and soft except for the red mesas that seemed to contain the beautiful sand in a bowl.
As we walked down into the cavity, our feet half skied and half sank as we walked; we laughed like children at this sensation. The thousands of granules moving and rolling under our every step mesmerized us. Occasionally we came across tall patches of grass and other desert plant life. I wondered at their existence in such a barren land. Like in the snow, tracks both human and animal had been left behind. I like the sand, drifted around following the tracks of Mule Deer, Crows, Jack Rabbits, and Kangaroo Rats.
We lost several hours there within the waves of sand. As the day grew older, the colors within the park changed becoming richer, providing intense contrasts between the red mesas in the background and the greens of the Juniper and Ponderosa Pines that grew at the lip of the sand. I wanted to remember every little detail, every track, every wave, and every dune; the winds, however, had a different plan.
As twilight was descending upon us, we started making our way back to the Clydesdale. We had roamed over several dunes and bore witness on the spine of one of the largest, the wind erasing our tracks. We watched as thousands of particles were blown away and a footprint disappeared completely before our eyes.
By the time we returned to the Clydesdale, our bodies were tired. We didn’t realize how much of an endeavor it is to walk in the sand for hours at a time. I felt like I hadn’t exactly walked, but was riding waves as if in the ocean. We had been captivated by the sand dunes and cared not for anything else. As we turned around for one last look, the dunes had changed their colors yet again and the wind was still rearranging.
If you can allow yourself to surrender to your child-like self and yield to time, I highly recommend the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah.
(I took all these pictures myself!)
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