As I sit in San Antonio, Texas, snuggled up in my comfy RV engulfed in a deluge of never ending rain (it’s finally easing up), I’m given the perfect opportunity to get the blog caught up with our travels. I admire those of you who are able to keep your blogs updated while traveling all the while engaging in the sights and sounds of new territory. That’s not me… as usual, I’m over a week behind 😉
Rising from the Tularosa Basin near Alamogordo, New Mexico, sits the largest gypsum dune field in the world – 275 square miles of glistening brilliant white sand aptly named White Sands National Monument.
We entered the monument from the east. As we continued driving the 8 mile scenic road west, the dunes increased in size; some of which are over 50 feet tall. The vegetation also gets sparser the further west we traveled along with changing sand grains. At the eastern edge the sand grains are very small and round while to the west the sand grains become larger and consist of different shapes. To categorize this place as unique is an understatement.
Al and I climb a sand dune and then another. A child like exuberance comes over me. I try making a snow angel and then I pretend I’m walking on the moon. A couple of kids in the distance are sledding. Yep, sledding on sand! You can even bring pooch – leashed of course, which is so unusual since dogs aren’t normally allowed on trails in National Parks or Monuments.
And think pooches paws will be bothered by the hot sand? Think again. Gypsum does not convert the sun’s energy into heat and thus the sand can be walked on with bare feet even during the hottest of summer months.
Al and I are awed by the raw untapped beauty. The vision leaves us speechless and we decide to find a place to sit and watch the sun set. As the sun lowers, we watch a film crew from South America do a photo shoot. Boy, I’d love to see the finished photos of that shoot.
Strong southwest winds keep the dunes in a constant state of change. They grow, crest, then slump but always advance. We lucked out with sustained winds of only 5 to 10 miles per hour, allowing us to enjoy a beautiful sunset.I’m very glad the weather cooperated and our schedule finally allowed us to take in the White Sands National Monument. It was so worth our time. 🐫