On Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, September 2 and 3, 2006, the Huerfano County Historical Society is sponsoring a guided drive from Gardner, across Medano Pass and into Great Sand Dunes National Park. This journey is to commemorate the crossing of these same mountains by Lt. Zebulon Pike and his men in early January, 1807. As the crossing of Medano Pass requires a high clearance, 4WD vehicle and the trail is narrow, each day the group is limited to 75 vehicles.
The day will start with a pancake breakfast and a briefing with maps at the Community Center in Gardner. Hopefully, re-enactors of Pike in uniform, mountain men, and maybe an Indian or two will be present to help illustrate the story. Each participant will be furnished with a Subway box lunch and then we're off to the Pass. There will be guides and check points along the way to make sure everyone gets through safely. On exiting the forested mountains we will be entering Great Sand Dunes National Park. The picnic area has been reserved for our lunch. And from here, traveler's are on their own... to explore the sand dunes, wade Medano Creek or continue following Pike's trail southward to Pike's Stockade, on the Conejos River just north of Manassa.
Tentatively (3-20-06) the registration fee is in the $25/person range and includes the two meals and a packet of information about the Zebulon Pike Expedition and the impact his story still has on the area, 200 years later. For the drive over the Pass, everyone must furnish his or her own vehicle.