Tiny Solar House Visits Colorado - Part 1

We've all heard how great Colorado is, and many of us have had the privilege to spend a weekend or two here, but how awesome would it be to spend a full month touring the centennial state?! That's exactly what we're planning on doing, and the first few weeks have been great!

We drove up from Santa Fe, NM and were delighted by the beautiful mountain views that appeared immediately as we crossed the state border.

tiny-house-colorado

Our first stop in Colorado was Great Sand Dunes National Park in the San Luis Valley, in the easternmost parts of Alamosa County and Saguache County. Great Sand Dunes is a gem of a park, and I honestly had no idea just how much beauty is on display throughout the park. In fact, I was amazed by the not just the sand dunes and mountains, but also by the serene river that trickles down from the mountains.  

While in Great Sand Dunes National Park we enjoyed hiking around, exploring mountains & waterfalls, and sand boarding on the magnificent dunes.

Pictures From Great Sand Dunes National Park

We found a spot with an amazing view of the sand dunes.

We found a spot with an amazing view of the sand dunes.

View of our spot while heading toward the dunes.

View of our spot while heading toward the dunes.

View from the beach.

View from the beach.

Crossing the shallow stream.

Crossing the shallow stream.

Mountains (L) and sand dunes (R).

Mountains (L) and sand dunes (R).

Panoramic view of the sand dunes.

Panoramic view of the sand dunes.

Looking across the sand dunes from the highest point.

Looking across the sand dunes from the highest point.

Another mountainous view from atop the dunes.

Another mountainous view from atop the dunes.

It felt alike another world!

It felt alike another world!

Panoramic view from the dunes.

Panoramic view from the dunes.

The deer had no fear.

The deer had no fear.

Amazing colors at sunset. 

Amazing colors at sunset. 

Sunset view from the solar roof.

Sunset view from the solar roof.

solar-roof2

Our next stop was Buena Vista, and fortunately a friend from high school who currently resides there was able to show us a free spot to camp, along with more amazing mountainous views.

Pictures From Buena Vista, CO

Panoramic view from our camping location - Four Mile. 

Panoramic view from our camping location - Four Mile. 

Arkansas River and country road below.

Arkansas River and country road below.

Big rock view from the solar roof.

Big rock view from the solar roof.

Mountains and solar panels.

Mountains and solar panels.

buena-vista-tiny-house

Downtown Buena Vista was small but neat. We happened upon an amazing car show, as well as a spontaneous street music performance.

buena-vista-cars2
buena-vista-cars.JPG
buena-vista-performers

We spotted lots of great opportunities for water rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding, and even water skiing. We also made a stop at one of the hot springs attractions, taking the opportunity to rest our tired muscles in 6 different temperature hot springs pools while enjoying the beautiful night sky Colorado is known for.

Next up was Gunnison and Crested Butte, where again a friend was able to show us some public land (our land & your land) to set up camp for free. Gunnison National Forest offers lots of opportunities to camp among all sorts of beautiful nature including flowers, birds, mountains, sunsets, wildlife, waterfalls, lakes, and a roaring stream.

Pictures From Gunnison & Crested Butte, CO

gunnison-flowers
tiny-house-flowers
gunnison-sunset-tiny-house

We checked out the 4th of July parade in Crested Butte including an epic water fight with the local fire volunteers (waaay too wet for photos).

crested-butte-parade12
crested-butte-parade9
crested-butte-parade4
crested-butte-parade2
crested-butte-parade

There were lots of great rafting opportunities in Gunnison, as well, though we missed out on them this time through.

Next up we visited Black Canyon National Park. The canyon's name owes itself to the fact that parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day, according to Images of America: The Black Canyon of the Gunnison. In the book, author Duane Vandenbusche states, "Several canyons of the American West are longer and some are deeper, but none combines the depth, sheerness, narrowness, darkness, and dread of the Black Canyon."

Pictures From Black Canyon National Park

View looking into the canyon.

View looking into the canyon.

View from above the canyon, river bottom in middle of photo.

View from above the canyon, river bottom in middle of photo.

View of the river bottom during a strenuous hike to the bottom.

View of the river bottom during a strenuous hike to the bottom.

View of the Gunnison River as seen from the bottom of Black Canyon.

View of the Gunnison River as seen from the bottom of Black Canyon.

Heart shadow appears over Black Canyon National Park.

Heart shadow appears over Black Canyon National Park.

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

black-canyon-flowers3
The beautiful Gunnison Mariposa Lily.

The beautiful Gunnison Mariposa Lily.

The beautiful Gunnison Mariposa Lily.

The beautiful Gunnison Mariposa Lily.

Van Gough-esq tree growing atop rocky terrain.

Van Gough-esq tree growing atop rocky terrain.

Star gazing during our last night at Black Canyon.

Star gazing during our last night at Black Canyon.

7 weeks into our solar powered journey across America and we still have not needed to plug into the grid for any electricity. Living off the grid, powered by an off-grid solar kit for 7 weeks!