White Sands National Monument outside Alamogordo NM

Friday afternoon we tossed our backpack with the lunch that we DID NOT NEED from our attempted hike in the morning into the jeep and headed about 22 miles from our camp site to White Sands National Monument.

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Once there we stopped at the visitor center and Diane and I took turns going in because we had Jack with us and the temps were rising. Someone needed to stay in the jeep with him.

Then we headed through the entry gate and started our tour.

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Doesn't that look like a snow drift!!??

Doesn’t that look like a snow drift!!??

Like No Place Else on Earth rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world’s great natural wonders – the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world’s largest gypsum dunefield.

For thousands of years the prevailing westerly winds have deposited gypsum powder – formerly eroded from the nearby San Andres Mountains, washed down by rainwater and deposited in the seasonal Lake Lucero, a few miles southwest – creating a huge area of white dunes covering 275 square miles. About half of the sands are within the boundaries of the White Sands National Monument.

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Its white sands are not composed of quartz, like most desert sands, but of gypsum and calcium sulfate. Unlike other desert sands, it is cool to the touch, due to the high rate of evaporation of surface moisture and the fact that the sands reflect, rather than absorb, the sun’s rays. Gypsum is one of the most common mineral compounds found on Earth but is rarely seen on the surface, as it dissolves easily in water.

These sun shelters made a great place to hace lunch

These sun shelters made a great place to hace lunch

We stopped at a few places and took our shoes off and  walked out into the cool sand. And we stopped at a area with sun shelters and had a little lunch.

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There are 5 main designated hiking trails. We walked two of them and then made our own trails the rest of the time. I think we walked poor old Jack to death going up the dunes and then running down the other side.

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Don’t get me wrong,, I think the White Sands is a cool place being the only place on earth like it and all but because we have spend a lot of time in the dunes along the Oregon coast it was a little anticlimactic for me. Now if we could be out there with our old sandrail I might have a different feeling LOL!! Here is what I want to do when I’m in the dunes.

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20" of travel and 400hp at the crankshaft and 1600 lb's made the car a rocket.

20″ of travel and 400hp at the crankshaft and 1600 lb’s made the car a rocket.

Oh the fun we had in that car!!

Oh the fun we had in that car!!

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2 Responses to White Sands National Monument outside Alamogordo NM

  1. We have not been there yet. Looks really cool, and so does the sand rail. I am sure you miss it. I hate losing my toys but it is still worth it in the long run.

  2. Lar says:

    What?…No rental buggies to tour the dunes in? I saw then once when very young. Guess they haven’t changed much in all those years.

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