White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument is 15 miles southwest of Alamogordo, New Mexico.  The snow-like white dunes of gypsum sand cover 275 square miles. The eight mile Dunes Drive is plowed leaving the edge of the road looking like plowed snow.  We walked the one mile Dune Life Nature Trail to gain a sense of how the plants and wildlife have adapted to this desert environment.  The sand has a crust-like composition that makes walking on it easier than the dunes near Florence, Oregon.  Gypsum reflects heat.  The sand itself is cool to the touch while the temperature at five or six feet is twenty degrees hotter.  This site sits between two missile ranges.  The highway is sometimes closed for one to three hours during tests.  Our stop at White Sands was a good break from driving. For $10, my newly acquired Senior Pass will allow me and up to three guests into the 390 parks in the National Park System.  Here’s looking to exploring many of them.

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