If it is possible for a landscape to touch the soul, then White Sands is the place. Large white gypsum sand blows across the Tularosa Basin forming various types of dune formations. White Sands is a vast sea of white in the brown Chihuahuan Desert with the Sacramento Mountains in the background. A bit out of the way, but not too far if you want to be left speechless by a brilliant landscape.
Why should White Sands be on your travel list? There are the obvious reasons: the unimaginable landscape, the coolness of the sand, or the large patch of white in the otherwise brown Chihuahua Desert.
Then there are my deeper reasons for those in a quest to find something extraordinary.
My List Of Why White Sands Should Be On Your Travel List:
:: Your mind will travel miles away from everyday life.
:: White Sands will touch deep within your soul.
:: You’ll notice every breath and hear your every step.
:: The silence will let you hear your thoughts.
:: You’ll better understand the power of nature.
:: You can test your strength inside and out.
:: No better place to get yourself centred.
:: One of the most amazing landscapes you’ll ever see.
Consider these ten interesting facts about White Sands National Monument ::
1. The White Sands National Monument is made up entirely of gypsum crystals that form dunes that stretch over 275 square miles.
2. The park is on the Register of Historic Places and can be found in any New Mexico travel guide.
3. The idea to make this area a National Park was first thought of way back in 1898.
4. The White Sands National Monument is completely surrounded by military installations and is periodically closed for a few hours at a time while they carry out testing.
5. Located in the Tularosa Basin, the park and the dunes are fully enclosed; there is no outlet to water of any kind, so the gypsum never gets dissolved in water.
6. Four marked trails allow visitors to explore the dunes on foot; guided tours are also available where a Ranger leads the expedition.
7. Visitors can go sledding year-round at the park. Sleds are available for purchase at the visitor centre and you can spend the day having fun in the sun.
8. The site of the first atomic bomb detonation is located on the northern boundary of the National Park.
9. Gypsum, what makes up the dunes is actually a clear substance; the dunes appear white like snow because the gypsum grains are constantly banging into each other. The scratches then reflect the sun’s rays making them look white.
10. Gypsum doesn’t absorb heat from the sun, so even on the hottest day of the year; the dunes are cool and comfortable to walk on.
I’ve written extensively about White Sands on this blog and this landscape dominates my last book, El Paso 120. Rest assured there is more to come.
Destination: White Sands National Monument