I saw a mountain lion...

Expectations.  The official definition of expectation is this:

"A strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future."

Have you ever had one of those days where you expect something, but get something entirely different?  Let me begin by saying -- expectations are great, but remind yourself to hold them loosely.

This past Saturday, the weekend of May 5th, Noelle and I decided to go on a little excursion to the Great Sand Dunes National Park in little ole' Mosca, Colorado.  This tiny little town outside of Alamosa is southwest of Colorado Springs and is situated at about 7,500 ft. above sea level.  We finally get to this small town called Mosca and found ourselves looking for some sign that would direct us to the mighty Sand Dune reserve.  Finally, we saw a sign that indicated we were only 15 miles away.  We were almost there.  Despite a rough start to the day, we were convinced this weekend getaway was going to be perfect.  We just had to get there!

Thinking back, it seemed like nothing could go wrong on this empty weekend just meant for the two of us.  Well, the truth is Saturday morning started off pretty dang rough..

-Saturday morning, 7:42AM:  I (Jacob, husband to Noelle) jump out of bed at the sound of a earth-shattering noise -- my trusty alarm clock.  I hit the snooze button.  To snooze a few times is nothing unusual, but this morning it was important we get the day started early.  Remember we had expectations!


-Saturday morning, 7:49AM:  I(Jacob, husband to Noelle) jump out of bed at the sound of a earth-shattering noise -- my trusty alarm clock sounds its chime once again.  This time, I turned it off and stumbled back to bed to wake Noelle. "Babe, we need to get going," I muttered.  We finally rolled out of bed feeling the consequences of staying up way to late.


-Saturday morning, 8:12AM: Making our way through the apartment, taking showers, getting dressed, packing, etc -- these were a few things we had confidence in doing well before heading down south.


You see, our goal was to leave by 8AM, but as you can see that didn't happen.  The second challenge was finding Noelle's camera.  I was determined to document the whole trip through snapshots and video clips.  I began scurrying around looking for the darn camera  Where the heck could it be?  I literally tore the apartment apart looking for the stupid thing.  I had to have looked in every box, container, and even in the trunk of my car for that little contraption.  I couldn't find it anywhere.  Ashamedly, I admit that I looked for the camera for over an hour. I was convinced it was stolen.

Anyhow, I gave up.  I was beginning to believe it was gone forever, the little Sony digicam was in the hands of a thief.  I was fairly perturbed by this point -- tired, irritable and growing impatient.  It was nearly 9:30AM, and I'm still running around looking for a camera.  I wonder what our neighbors thought...

Moving on.  So I began packing for what was left of our overnight junket -- it was nearly 10AM.  And we are off!  No...just kidding.  Bags were packed and food was prepped.  And in case we encountered any predators either at the rest stop or predators with teeth and claws that were 4 inches long, I was
wielding a serrated Spyderco Knife and a sweet police baton.  You can never be too safe in this day and age, and I'm married now, so I must do everything possible to protect my bride.  So you are probably asking, what's holding you back from leaving?  The shoes.  Recently, I bought Noelle some Chacos from REI.  Well, not only did they have two straps you had to figure out, but how in the world do you tighten the stupid things?!?  We fiddled around with these sandals for over thirty minutes.  I began to pack the car up while Noelle tried to outsmart her Chacos.  Good golly -- it's 10:30AM and we are finally leaving the apartment with a car full enough to feed and lodge us for a week.

You would have thought by now we would be heading south to Pueblo, then Walsenburg and finally Mosca, but we had a few more stops to make due to our poor planning and preparation.  First, we decided to stop by my dad's house to grab some free firewood and to look for my sleeping mat.  I filled my trunk with firewood, said hi to my dad and moved on out.  As we were leaving the Monument area, it starts doing this Colorado wonder which caused the skies to spew these white pellets.  It wasn't quite sleet or hail -- it was softer, but there was a ton of it coming down from the sky.  Needless to say, I think it was irritating us.  We finally get to our last destination -- Walmart.  The land of everything.  The store where you could spend $1 or $4,000.  Everything from apples to computers was available to the Monument consumer and all you had to do is head inside and grab a cart.  Noelle and I only had a few things to get.  Right.  Dinner was taken care thanks to Noelle's fabulous Hobo Dinner skills, but we didn't have any food for breakfast or lunch.  We began by getting some fruit and then think of some snack ideas.  Smores?  Yes, smores are a must any camping trip.  We gathered the ingredients
necessary for this delightful treat and moved on to the coffee aisle.  The Goodlin household has a French Press for making coffee.  It uses ground coffee and through a pressure contraption it extracts the coffee grounds using a filter and presses the flavorful juices out and bam -- you have coffee.  The next question was, what kind of coffee shall we get?  Do we buy a huge bag of ground coffee?  We settled on two small bags of Millstone French Vanilla.  Donuts and fruit were on the menu for breakfast, PB & J for lunch and several snack options.  Leaving Walmart was an adventure all on its own.  It was windy and snowing these annoying little pellets from the heavens.  Already irritated from the mornings events, we walked to the car, put ice in the cooler while the wind was blowing us all around and being pelted  by the Spring snow storm.

The morning had been eventful to say the least, but we were determined to move on.  We prayed over the drive and weekend and we finally found ourselves headed south to the little town of Mosca.

At about 2PM we arrived at the road that directs us towards the Sand Dunes.  14.6 miles it states.  We turned down this straight road where off in the distance we saw these mountains of sand.  Are we suddenly in Egypt?!?  It seriously looked like a digital graphic -- the sand dunes in the distance.  It was so odd looking.

We drove toward the dunes looking for our campground  My idea of camping begins in the wilderness, but -- surprise, surprise -- this was not the case here.  People everywhere! We ended up camping in the midst of 2yr olds and rowdy  bachelors.   We pitched the tent, loaded it up with our stuff and headed off to the illustrious sand dunes.   It was so windy out!  Crossing a tiny stream caused by snow run-off from the large mountains close by made our feet swell because it was so cold.  Did I mention it was windy out?  Once we got to base of the first mountain of sand, we took off our shoes and headed up.  It felt so good to walk on warm sand barefooted.  This didn't last for long.  Imagine walking up 60 degree sand hills.  It was exhausting to say the least.  After taking a plethora of pictures, we moved back to camp, made dinner and cuddled in the tent playing Phase 10.  I won, by the way :)  S'mores were on the agenda before bed time, so I roused the fire up again and we sat close together talking and eating a bountiful amount of these little graham cracker delights.

After a tireless night of sleep due to the 20 degree weather, rocks jabbing me in the back and Noelle wondering if a bear was outside our tent, I finally got up thanks to the loud cries of young children.  I stirred up the fire on this cold morning and found Noelle at my side about thirty minutes later.  I thought to myself, "It's going to be a good day..."

We cleaned up, packed up and headed off on this beautiful Sunday morning.  It was already getting warm out, so I stopped to snap a few pics, opened the sunroof and turned on One Republic.  We were determined to do something adventurous on this Sunday.  It had to include danger, the opportunity to wield my Spyderco knife and some kind of arduous physical activity. 

Stay tuned for part 2.