Friday, December 31, 2010

THE Trip, White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

(This post is graphics heavy.  Because of serious, serious Internet issues, as in S-L-O-W, and S-L-O-W-E-R, this may be the last post this heavy in graphics for a while.  It took hours to complete this post.)

Now that Man and I are basically over the ickies, we are starting to take in the sites of this area of New Mexico, we made a day trip out of a jaunt over the mountains to White Sands National Monument.


White Sands is at the northern edge of the Chihauhaun Desert, in the center of the Tularosa Basin and is formed from gypsum from the San Andres and Sacramento Mountains.  The "sand" is formed over time by evaporation of gypsum loaded runoff water from the mountains and the action of years of wind and weather.  The National Parks Service has a great web page,  while I was drafting this post I could not access the additional links, so, suggest you go have a lookie see for a better explanation of this phenomenon of gypsum sand.

The resulting "sand" may resemble sand from a seashore or lakeside, as it is white and rolls around into dunes.  However, I thought the the texture is different, rather soft, instead of course and sharp like sand can be.

Yes, that IS snow on that mountain top. 
This is either Salinas Peak (8958 feet)
or Sierra Blanca Peak (12,003 feet).  I have not
figured out which yet.

There are several hiking trails, one is a boardwalk, handicapped accessible, the other is a hike right through the dunes, and is called the Dune Life Nature Trail.  We walked both of these.

It was a cloudy day, I set the Sony for 'bright days', however, with all that white gypsum sand I still had trouble getting photos that were anything but a blaze of white.  Therefore, photos on today's blog have been tweaked to pull out what little color and detail there is.

Man walking the gypsum sand dunes, looks like
winter in Michigan, gray skies, lots of white
stuff on the ground, his winter coat and THE hat!

Yes, they even go sledding just like on a winter
day in Michigan, but no snowsuits!

This looks like it could be from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
during a blizzard, but, it is actually a photo of the
drive in to the White Sands area taken through
the windshield. 

This dome shaped plant topped "structure" is called a
gypsum plant stand.  It is formed when a plant grows tall to
stay on top of a sand dune.  Then, the dune moves on, leaving
the root bound base in place.  Man touched one and found
it to be very hard, almost rock like.

Big Butt's front tire after driving around in gypsum sand.  Our
shoes were covered on the bottom as well, had to take
a stiff bristle brush to them to get them clean.

While I was writing this post it started snowing in Las Cruces.  They have had no moisture here for something like 65 to 70 days.  We had some light rain, some small 1/4 inch hail balls and then, REAL SNOW!  No, it did not collect, not even on the grassy areas.

* Please visit Reflection's Flora and Fauna for more photos from White Sands National Monument.  The Soap Tree Yucca and Rio Grande Cottonwood have already been highlighted.



IrishEyesJG said...

OMG, Carol, I am loving these photos. White Sands National Monument is now officially on my bucket list. The second one with the Adobe house and the snow capped peak is just beautiful. Thanks for taking the time and trouble to post these. Really enjoying them. Cheers! Jennifer

Amanda (the librarian) said...

Carol, I think there were/have been some problems with Blogger - I had a lot of trouble doing a post with only three photos!

Still remember visiting White Sands over 40 years ago as a child - a very memorable place!

Nolichucky Roots said...

Breathtaking. Thank you. So much.

hummer said...

Love the pictures. I have been following your trip on FB and didn't get by here. Did you slide down a dune? Just asking. ; )

Becky said...

Nice photos, Carol. Thanks for persevering with posting them... I kind of blew through New Mexico in March but had planned to spend some time there this winter. Someday. And White Sands is on my list!

Carol said...

Jennifer, you are welcome,I like that 2nd photo as well! :-)

Amanda, I really did not have issues with Blogger, as much as I could not stay online with air card OR the campground wifi. Part of fix was to finally download Chrome. Campground wifi still would not let me on this AM, so there are multiple issues. Happy New Year to Me?? LOL

Nolichucky Roots, thank you!!

hummer, No, yours truly did not go sledding, nor did Man. We were happy just watching from the sidelines.

Becky, you will love New Mexico.

Chuck said...

Happy New to you
(and the 2-legged and 4-legged companions)!

I have been enjoying your pics of your trip, so keep the good work!