Doin' the Dunes

What can you do with sand? Pound it? Wipe it out of your eyes the morning after? Watch the hourglass as life ticks by? What is an old Colorado boy supposed to do with his skis when he moves to the desert? When you have the biggest sand dune in all of America right next door, the answer becomes obvious.

Here we are approaching the Eureka Valley "sand mountain" by air. The view is from over the Saline Range. The "dune" is 900 feet high. We landed on the dry lake bed next to the dune, using one of Elmer's old strips, which consisted of two lines of rocks defining a landing strip. The ranger hated seeing the plane on the lakebed, and wrote our pilot a citation for illegal parking. When Jim inquired why the BLM allowed the rocks to remain in place if landing was not permitted, the ranger replied that BLM archeologists thought they might have been placed there by early indigenous people. Too bad they never bothered to ask any of the locals. Elmer was never early for anything!

It takes a good hour to climb to the top of the dune when you don't have the benefit of a chair lift. Having the benefit of my sherpa Mark was a great help. While we stood on the summit, we watched an F-18 circle the dune below us.

Don't try this with your good skis. This is recommended for your rock skis! If you bury a ski, call for a backhoe!

Of course skiing is seasonal, so make sure you have a board around for those warmer months!

Every once in a while I get lucky and run into some of that deep powder.

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