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  • Denise Vasquez

How Accessible Is Accessible: Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Updated: Apr 14


Photography by Denise Vasquez


There is something #sacred, #tribal and #safe about feeling #grounded in the #earth, especially in #sand! It has played such a vital important part of my #life and I’m #learning more and more to #appreciate the little things in life like #focusing on #happy #moments of #playing in the sand, burying my #feet in the sand, and taking #photos in the sand whether at the #beach, or in the #desert. I used to #love #climbing in sand #dunes to take #photographs, and honestly after I got #injured, I wasn’t sure if I would ever have #access to #seeing a sand dune, let alone #walk or #climb in the sand ever again. Being able to walk on sand again someday has been one of my many #goals over the last 3 years since my #accident. I’m still not able to walk, climb nor #run the way I used to, especially on sand, due to my #achilles #tendon injury, CRPS and other issues pertaining to my Permanent Disability, but I think it’s important to discuss what I’ve #experienced as a disabled #photographer while on my #journey to get back on my feet in every way.


I haven’t been able to get close to the #ocean because there are not ADA Compliant paved #paths on #beaches leading up to the #water. I haven’t been able to see #viewpoints like the #wave in the Valley Of Fire (my blog about The Valley of Fire coming soon) because there are no #ADACompliant #paved #trails to get to any viewpoints to be able to see it. I’m #witnessing a lack of #accessibility to the #outdoors #nature, viewpoints, #parks and more!

Bottom line, we need more #ADA Compliant paved walkways, paved trails, and paved viewpoints! ADA is the #law, #Accessibility is a #right, and my #purpose with my “How Accessible Is Accessible” series is to #help #change things for #disabled people for the better by bringing #awareness during my #travels to my #discoveries on what is really #accessible & what isn’t.


My boyfriend and I were #traveling from #Utah to #Arizona when we discovered a State Park Called “Coral Pink Sand Dunes”. We were curious to learn more about the #park, so we decided to take a detour from our original #planned #route, and go on an #adventure! Always leave room for #spontaneity on your #travels! I am so glad we did because we would’ve never #discovered this hidden gem!


I always see people posting #photos, videos and #selfies at National Parks, but I’m here to tell you, we have some beautiful State Parks in our country too!

#Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2021


As we were driving to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, we felt like we were entering another world! The #terrain changed quickly from moment to moment as if we were looking at the #world through a #viewfinder toy. The #mountains turned from grey to yellowish green to #colorful tones of tans, oranges and reds, and the sand turned from a golden tan color to a coral orange as we drove deeper into the #canyons.

#Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2021


We didn’t see any other #cars in sight which was really nice, but we did see lots of bones and carcasses on the side the #road for many miles which was kind of creepy & made us feel as though we were in a #movie like “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind”. As we approached about a mile from the state park, I noticed some #photographers on the side of the road, so we pulled over to investigate what was happening at the #location. As a #photographer, my #experience has always been to #notice where other photographers are because they usually find the best spots with the best #compositions! The #view from where they were was spectacular & it appeared as though they were either setting up #camp to take #sunset photos, #MilkyWay photos, #sunrise photos, or all of the above!


There wasn’t really an accessible #place for me to #wander here, so we made our way to the #visitor center. I asked the woman at the entrance some questions:


-Can I use my Access Pass to get Free entry? No. It cost $10 for entry (State Parks do not accept the Access Pass, Click HERE to see my blog that I wrote about the Access Pass if you’d like to learn more).


-Was that carcasses we kept seeing on the side of the road? Yes, those were deer carcasses because there are a lot of deer in the area, people don’t drive carefully and hit the deer.


-Was the Park Accessible? YES! The park is accessible.

The woman at the gate was #kind, #welcoming and #smiling as she pointed out accessible areas to us starting from the Visitor center area, and gave us directions to a beautiful #viewpoint (see above #Youtube #video to see the paved walkway leading to the accessible viewpoint).


We made our way to the #overlook and parked in the disabled parking spot. I was happy to also see accessible restrooms near the parking lot, and an accessible paved trail that led to a great viewpoint with bleachers for sitting. I was pleasantly surprised that we had the entire place to ourselves. It was nice to be able to not feel #rushed, not feel #stepped over, stepped on or pushed while taking photos. If you're wondering about the stepped over, pushed or stepped on issue, Yes, it's happened to me too many times whether I've been on #crutches, using a rolling #walker or in a #wheelchair! The Viewpoint had plenty of room to walk, to sit and for #wheelchairs (manual or motorized). The park is open to playing in the sand, #hiking, #ATV riding and It was #fun watching people riding what looked like #snowboards on the sand dunes.


These #Coral #Pink Sand dunes are estimated to being 10,000 to 15,000 years old and are created by sand, #winds & an influence upon the wind that carries the sand. This #beautiful park has something for everyone! It was my first time here, and certainly not the last!


My only complaint here is that I wish I was able to use my Access Pass at State Parks like this one. Why do disabled people have to pay full $10 #admission when State Parks usually have zero, one or two accessible locations? It’s not necessary for me to spend an entire day there if that’s the case. Why do disabled people have to pay for full day access in these situations? This is an issue that needs to be addressed & changed!


Stay tuned for more blogs, videos & photos! Be sure to subscribe & follow me online and If you'd like to #support The Disabled Photographer Project, you can make a donation by clicking the #Donate button below:



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