Story by

Care Willink

November 14th, 2017

Barely findable on a map, the Imperial Sands Dunes are miles upon miles of raw, uninhabited, untouched sand, intended for dune buggies. As we made our way out to Nowhere, California, it almost seemed as if we were in a different world — like we had reached another dimension. Ominous. No buildings, no cell phone reception, no vehicles, no people — just a sea of sand.

The wind loudly blew over the rolling sands, yet there was an eerie sense of stillness. Before getting out, we had to soak it in for a bit. Walking along the sands, we could feel our feet only slightly sink in. We left the car running out of precaution. (After all, what would we do if the car decided not to restart?)

With each step we began feeling more and more comfortable with this place and our walk picked up speed until we were in a dead sprint with no particular destination. There is something absolutely exhilarating and freeing about running across a deserted landscape, being able to see forever in every direction, knowing there's no one but you in that moment in time and space.

As we drove away, we asked Remy what she enjoyed most. "Running in da sand" and "flying" made the top of the list. These moments of being together with no one else around are so needed sometimes. They reveal the genuine joy that can come from simply being together.

How to get here: Imperial Sand Dunes is about two hours east of San Diego and two hours south of Palm Springs. We read a lot about the off-roading vehicles, which look fun, but we had no resources or time to do it. You do not have to have one of these (thankfully) to enjoy the views! If you do have an off-roading vehicle you just need a permit. You can also camp at this park, and you will need a permit for this, as well.

We just wanted to soak in the beauty and experience. Again, we couldn't find too much info ahead of time, so here you go! Once you enter the park there are a few ranger stations. When we went (a Monday afternoon in October) they were not open.

As I mentioned above, there was no one at the park at all for that matter! It was awesome for us, but may feel a bit uneasy to some. There were outhouse-type bathrooms near the entrance. As we drove in, we read that it was a five-mile ride in and out. We made it to the end and drove back to our favorite area of sands. There were many places along the way to stop and enjoy the scenery.