When we talk to people we meet in our travels, one of the questions they ask us is “what are your favorite places ? For me there aren’t a lot of places that stand out in my mind. The big thing, I tell people, are the people you meet and become friends with. It’s so different when you’re a full-time RVer. People have a different perspective on life and the things that are important. I have places I like to visit like Jackson, Wyoming because of the Tetons and the wildlife; Summerdale, Alabama for the Escapee park and close proximity to the Gulf Shores, great shrimp and nearby Pensacola. Today Linda and I went to the Sand Dunes National Park and Zapata Falls, about 90 minutes from here. For a fun day trip, these are two neat things to see. The falls would be really high on my list of “A-ha” moments, where you feel like the choirs are singing and life is pretty special for a few minutes. No worrying about any upcoming election, the wild fires in Colorado or what we’re doing an hour from now.
When you get to the turn off to Zapata Falls, you begin a drive up a really rough (as in washboard) dirt road for what seems like two miles or so. At the top, you have a wonderful view of the plain below for as far as the eye can see. Off to the right, you see the dunes and the mountains.
We parked the car near a picnic table and had a picnic lunch before beginning the hike to the falls. Bobbie had told me about the Oasis Restaurant, just down the road from the dunes and how awesome their pies are so I decided that would make a wonderful dessert for our picnic lunch. Bought a piece of white chocolate coconut cream pie and a piece of cherry pie. Went very well with our chicken salad and pickles.
After lunch, we started the half mile hike up the trail to the falls. It’s very rocky and at a steep enough elevation that you have to stop every couple minutes to catch your breath. Up and up we went….till we started to hear water running. Looks like Linda is waiting for the bus in this one picture….sorry no bus comes through here.
We came across this little knoll and there’s the cutest stream running out of the rugged canyon walls. We walked on the rocky shoreline as far back as we could and then we ran out of dry land. We thought this was the end of the line, so to speak and was taking in the little kids playing in the water and people enjoying how cool the temp was, compared to the 80 or so degrees it had been hiking up to it.
A young couple was sitting on the concrete spillway and told us that we needed to walk back into the canyon walls to see the actual falls. We had been worried, with the lack of snowfall and rain in the area, that there wasn’t really a falls but just a babbling brook coming down from the mountain. The best way to get back there was to either get barefoot and walk through the stream or leave our shoes on. Since I have pretty wimpy feet and I felt I’d be a little more surefooted with shoes on, we plodded back through the water and back through the cut in the wall.
When I passed through the light, cascading in from the opening above and saw the waterfall, with the spray coming off of it, it was euphoric. Such a beautiful thing and I think we were lucky that the water wasn’t high, otherwise it might be too treacherous to wade back to it. The planets were aligned in our favor today so we could see and experience it. I can’t begin to tell you how freezing cold that water was. Thank goodness I had socks on because I don’t think I could have tolerated the cold without them.
It was a magical place…several different colors and types of butterflies flying around. One of those great wonders that you are in awe to discover. It reminded me of when I went behind the ice cave, in Thayne Wyoming last July at the fresh water geyser. So Zapata Falls moves into one of my top ten places to experience and see. If you go, be prepared to get your feet wet or you won’t see the falls. Jump in and go explorin’
The sand dunes were cool too. Will write more about them next time.Blogger Labels: Zapata Falls,Colorado,