Other-worldly: White Sands National Monument

IMG_2929

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.

 

IMG_2882

What a great sign.

IMG_2904

Our first day had clouds which soften the white sands.

IMG_2910

It was breezy.  Amelia’s hair matched the wispy clouds.

IMG_2927

Just like snow shoeing downhill!  Sometimes we would sink to our knees.

IMG_2923

This gives you an idea of the vastness.

IMG_2924

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.

IMG_2941

Better safe than sorry.  We don’t need some missile mishap taking out a bunch of cars on the highway.

IMG_2942

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.

IMG_2958

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.

IMG_2969

And here it is!  A Skunkbush Sumac.  It grows dense deep roots that help form a pedestal after the dune moves on.

IMG_2972

Beautiful.

IMG_2979

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. 

IMG_2983

We completely lucked out and saw a Bleached Earless Lizard.

IMG_2985

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

IMG_2977

Purple Sand Verbena.

IMG_2987

I couldn’t help myself, but here’s the sappy last picture!

8 thoughts on “Other-worldly: White Sands National Monument

  1. nice blog, beautiful sand, bet it is hot later on and you would not be able to walk on it then.                 Interesting lizard and the skunk bush.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s