Thursday, February 23, 2017

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

White Sands is one of our favourite places to visit. I don't know why, there aren't many trails here to hike. But, you can walk out onto the cool, white sand and go for miles. Kids sled down the dunes. I guess what we love about it is the spectacular photography and the location in the Tularosa Basin nestled between the Sacramento Mountains to the east and the San Andreas Mountains to the west, near the city of Alamagordo.

The sand dunes are fed by the winds blowing from the southwest across Lake Lucero which is a deposit of gypsum and selenite crystals. The dunes are a beautiful, white colour, but very alkaline and salty making conditions tough for animal and plant life.
Here the sand has engulfed a skunkbush sumac tree and solidified around it, forming these gypsum pedestals. The trees may continue to bloom yellow and white flowers, and red and orange berries in the spring.
A young yucca, with its elongated shadow and the sand ripples make a gorgeous shot.
The Soaptree Yuccas grow so tall. This one dwarfs me.
The gypsum sand re-crystalizing as selenite.

The next few days, and the last days, of this trip are supposed to be spent in Carlsbad, New Mexico visiting Carlsbad Caverns (again) and Sitting Bulls Falls (for the first time), but suddenly a really good four-day window opens up and we decide that, after spending the night in Carlsbad to visit with friends Grace and Greg (whom we first met in St. George in December 2015 and again accidentally met at Lake Mead in December 2016), we will drive straight home.

The 1,800-mile (2,900-km) drive home is gloriously uneventful, and we arrive home, safe and sound, to great weather and our greatly missed family. Another trip completed. I will post one more blog, outlining trip numbers - distances, costs, etc.

No comments:

Post a Comment