why choose between the desert and mountains when you can have both?
This one was really special for me! I first met Erica back in 2008-ish, not long after I moved to Colorado when I organized a women’s climb of Crestone Peak, one of Colorado’s 14ers (14,000+ foot mountains). We made the 3.5 hour drive to the San Luis Valley together and by the time we arrived we felt like old friends!
Fast forward almost 15 years (and a whole lot of living for both of us) and I was SO excited when she told me she wanted to elope and asked if I wanted to be a part of it!
We had originally planned on a hiking elopement down the San Juan mountains but when Josh broke his foot a few months out from their elopement, a big hike became out of the question. After tossing around some ideas we landed on doing a little mountains and deserts combo involving two really special places – Great Sand Dunes National Park and Crested Butte!
It was really important to them that their dogs get to be a part of their big day but, unfortunately, life once again had other ideas! One of their dogs tore their ACL just a couple weeks before their elopement so the dogs had to stay home – but they were still there in spirit (and on their vow books!).
We began their elopement adventure the night before at the incredible Dunes Desert Camp where they were staying in a safari tent! Chris, the owner of the Dunes Desert Camp, was kind enough to let me park my van there for the night and we all spent the evening sitting by the fire, sharing beers and stories, and watching the stars. And it was honestly one of the best pre-elopement evenings ever.
The next morning began not-so-bright but very early with an adventure into Great Sand Dunes National Park where they said their vows surrounded by nothing but sand and sky. There wasn’t another soul in site and it was magical! I’m OBSESSED with the Sand Dunes – it’s one of my favorite places in Colorado for elopements – and it was the perfect setting for the first half of their day!
From there we went back to the Dunes Desert Camp to pack up and then hit the road to adventure up to the mountains! They picked up pizza along the way and we spent the rest of the evening exploring a mountain pass, eating pizza, and talking about just how perfect this whole thing was!
Here are some photos from their day! Enjoy!