Sand dunes bring out the kid in Amelia!
We knew the White Sands were white, but holy cow, they are shockingly white! Snow blinding white. Crazy white. Vertigo producing white. Other-worldly and white. The sand is white because it’s gypsum crystals. Even in the warmest weather you can walk barefooted on the dunes.
This is the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. It covers 275 square miles. The next largest is a measly 3 square miles. The National Monument is only a small fraction because the rest belongs to the White Sands Missile Range. Yes, they still launch and test missiles. When they do, they actually close down the park up to three hours, as a precaution. The world’s first atomic bomb was detonated 65 miles north of the park on July 16, 1945. We stayed by the nearest town, Alamogordo. While in town I was keeping my eyes open for strange looking people with deformities. I didn’t see any, then again they are probably all dead now.
What a great sign.
Our first day had clouds which soften the white sands.
It was breezy. Amelia’s hair matched the wispy clouds.
Just like snow shoeing downhill! Sometimes we would sink to our knees.
This gives you an idea of the vastness.
No camping in the park. They actually shut the place down at night. But there’s plenty of room during the day for your rig.
Better safe than sorry. We don’t need some missile mishap taking out a bunch of cars on the highway.
I was so inquisitive about the no alcoholic beverages date range that I tracked down a ranger to ask. In a nutshell, they do not want the place to become a Spring Break haven for drunk college kids.
Day two, middle of the day, no clouds. Sunglasses were an absolute must. See that green mound right of center? That was our goal. It was further away than it appeared.
And here it is! A Skunkbush Sumac. It grows dense deep roots that help form a pedestal after the dune moves on.
In between the dunes some of the basins looked like this. It appears to be hard and crusty but you can walk right through it barefooted no problem.
We completely lucked out and saw a Bleached Earless Lizard.
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.
Purple Sand Verbena.
I couldn’t help myself, but here’s the sappy last picture!