Sunday, June 5, 2016

White Sands National Monument

On Friday we left the beautiful city of Santa Fe, NM and traveled south along country roads to the town of Alamogordo.
Bob and I have grown to love New Mexico, and we enjoyed the drive. We made good time and settled into our new campsite.

On Sunday we took the car to White Sands National Monument. We started seeing drifts of white powdered sand around desert plants. 
The effect was odd; our brains kept switching from thoughts of snow to thinking the ocean was around the corner. Even the road looked like packed snow.
Dunes grew higher, and we passed families sliding down sand dunes on snow saucers. Temperatures were in the 80's and people were barefoot in the powdery sand.
We parked the car and hiked a portion of the Alkali Flats Trail, which is not exactly flat. Portions of the trail pass over some fairly large sand dunes.
We enjoyed the lovely views of the mountains that encircle the dunes, which were only formed 7-12,000 years ago. 
The mountains themselves are the source of the gypsum that makes up the sand dunes.
We learned in the Visitors Center that the dunes can move as much as 18 feet each year,. That movement is a result of the near-constant blowing of the wind.

Tomorrow we get back on the road and head towards Texas. We will miss the beautiful and varied scenes of New Mexico, and her friendly people.

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