(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
|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.