We had most of another day on the Santa Fe Trail. When you think about it the route follows the Arkansas River. Man first walked on the Prairie beside the river to find a way west. In the 19th century wagons traveled the route. In the 1880’s the railway was built on the route, then finally in the 20th century the road was built. All 4 modes of transportation followed the river. Unfortunately it was not navigable. Leaving Garden City the route changed to US50. Crossing into Colorado we stopped in Lamar to get maps and directions at the visitor’s bureau. Its 72 miles From La Junta (The Junction) to Walsenburg. The road slowly climbs until we were at 6,000 feet. It was the most desolate part of the trip so far. There were no stopping places along the highway, so we wound up going into the driveway for a cell phone tower and had lunch.
At Walsenburg we were at the edge of the Rocky Mountains. The View took the La Veta pass to 9,428 feet at 54 mph without missing a beat. We arrived at the National Park at 3:00pm CDT, 2:00PM MDT. It turns out we are early in the season so there were lots of good sites in the campground. There is pretty fair Verizon Internet access here but no power in the campground. The sand dunes are the highest in North America at 650 feet above the base Tomorrow we will climb the smaller dunes and then move to San Luis state park just few miles from here; no more 300 mile days until the return trip.
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