My first glimpse of White Sands National Park was at 8600 feet, coming down New Mexico HWY 82 from Cloudcroft. From that point, the gypsum sand dunes looked like a huge glacier field. Did you know that the dunes of White Sands National Park can been seen from space?
This gypsum is from an ancient sea, which retreated millions of years ago. From a distance, the dunes are like a mirage, dazzling white and shimmering! Covering 275 square miles, it is the largest gypsum dune field in the world.
The park offers one road that you can drive through the dunes, where at certain points you would swear you are in an a snow blizzard. I’m pretty sure they actually have to “plow” the road as the wind continually blows the sand.
Dogs are allowed in this park and you are allowed to walk among the dunes. People even use snow sleds and slide down the sides of the dunes. Rae and I hiked a bit and it was a bit freaky to be honest, trying to make my mind understand what it was seeing. Totally gorgeous though.
After a day of driving through New Mexico, I feel like we kind of just checked this one off the list. I am so glad we stopped and checked it out, but mostly we just drove through and then on to our last night of camping in Las Cruces.
What I learned about the park:
It’s easy to have mixed feelings about this park, since on one hand it is incredibly beautiful, and on the other, this area is heavily used by the military to test missiles and bombs. It sure was fun to visit this very out of the ordinary park.
What I learned about myself:
I love road trips. I love all the beautiful parts of this country. Even with the restrictions due to COVID, there is still so much to see. I am grateful that I’m able to take advantage of my circumstances and make these trips happen.
Some thoughts for you:
Wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands throughout your adventure, whatever it looks like.