September 2nd, 2017
White Sands National Monument
In mid November, as we made our way south from Colorado, we stopped for a night in Albuquerque, NM. Instead of staying at a rest stop or RV park, we decided to park overnight at a Walmart parking lot along with some other RVers. We are not fans of the corporate conglomerate that is Walmart, but we do appreciate that many of their stores allow overnight RV parking. The next day, the plan was to make our way towards El Paso,Texas but first, we took a small detour to a surprise location James had planned for us.
Our mystery stop was the White Sands National Monument located in New Mexico. The monument is a beautiful, rare sight of gypsum sand dunes that stretch for miles. It was created naturally through several processes that occurred starting back millions of years ago when this area was covered by the sea. Through tectonic plate movement, the Ice age occurrence, rising and lowering sea levels and the eventual total evaporation of the lake that covered the sand, this unique landmark was formed. The sand is super fine and almost powder like. It is composed of gypsum, a natural mineral, which is rarely found in sand.
Since the park is so large, you are able to drive through it on designated roads and make different stops along the way to take in the beautiful scenery. We were extra happy to know that we could even drive our trailer through the park as well.
We parked and took a long walk to a large sand dune. The views from atop were spectacular. We took a moment to take it all in.
Then we decided we would try to roll down the dune which ended with us just dragging our butts down the sand while we laughed hysterically.
After some exploration we headed back towards the trailer and saw a family with small children who had brought sleds. Sledding is allowed in the park in certain places where there is no vegetation growing and where the sledder can safely ride. The family was visiting from Austin, TX and was kind enough to let us borrow their sled to take a turn. The dad even helped out by giving me a little (big) push.
As we continued driving through the park, we made some more stops and learned about the different vegetation and organisms that live in the dunes. Its pretty amazing how they have adapted to survive in the ever changing dunes.
We really loved seeing the snow like sand dunes in the middle of a dessert.
For more information, visit https://www.nps.gov/whsa/index.htm