Back in Death Valley for the evening, I asked Sam if he could choose go to one location in the valley (that was open), where would it be? He responded quite emphatically that he wanted to return to the sand dunes near Stovepipe Wells.
We were staying at Stovepipe Wells that same evening, so that worked out well as we parked the car a ways past the new parking lot and started hiking in to the smaller dunes to the east. In addition to exploring a part of the dunes we hadn’t seen previously, we were also trying to avoid the many footprints that marred what is a pretty landscape.
Sam headed off to do his own thing and before long he was merely a speck, appearing and disappearing as he navigated the ups and downs of the dunes. I felt quite proud of him for being willing to leave me behind and do this by himself. Maybe he just wanted some peace and quiet away from his dad!
The warm light soon started to get lower in the sky, and before long we were treated to shadows stretching down into the hollows between the dunes. Our decision to head to this part of the dunes paid off in that we saw fewer footprints, and for most of the evening we were probably the only two people in what was a very large area.
I didn’t see Sam until the sun had actually set, that’s when I saw him climbing one of the higher dunes before making his way along a ridge to where I had settled in to enjoy the dusk. I think he really enjoyed the solitude of being out on the dunes totally by himself for the evening, and I have a feeling he will remember this time for the rest of his life.