Yesterday we left Arizona and stopped in Alamogordo, NM for the night. As we came across from Las Cruces through the White Sands Missile Range, sunlight was fading, so we decided to check out the White Sands National Monument this morning.
First I should say that we’re familiar with sand. As a matter of fact, LeRoy still has, I think, a collection of sand from different recreational areas. We freaked out a park ranger at the Sand Dunes National Monument in Colorado once when we pulled in there, buggy in tow. We didn’t intend to put it on the sand, but he didn’t know that. Today we were in the Jeep and while it would have been fun to play, we obeyed the signs.
Several years ago, our son Robert was on temporary assignment in White Sands and as military personnel, they were out on the dunes with a vehicle capable of lots of fun. He sent some great sunset pictures.
One of the things about sand is that it is never still. A camera like mine just can’t catch the drifting action that takes place on the dune crest, but it’s great fun to watch. The 8-mile road through the area is maintained much like roads after a Kansas snowstorm and while the sand of the dunes is white, the sand pushed to the edge of the roadcuts looks like dirty snow.
Snow saucers were for sale at the gift shop. If you just want to use one for your visit, you can “rent” it. Really you buy one for $10, bring it back with your receipt and get $3 back. We chose not to participate today!
Along the road we saw signs for a back country permit camping area, bicycles and an unloading area for horses so it’s definitely a multi-use area. There were dozens of sheltered picnic tables in clusters.
It made me think of times when we camped at the Little Sahara sand dunes in Oklahoma and the kids raced pop cans down the campground hills at the edge of the dunes. Apparently families still enjoy sand together!
If you lived in this area, you could be guaranteed a white Christmas, just not a snowy one, if you spent the day at White Sands.