Saturday, January 23, 2021
White Sands National Park & Lincoln National Forest
ODOMETER: 83,225 | MILES TRAVELED: 5,280
Today, we had White Sands National Park on our agenda. The weather was beautiful and we were all excited to visit this natural wonder. An added attraction was the fact that you could sled down the snow white sand dunes.
White Sands National Park raises up from the Tularosa Basin. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand cover 275 square miles of desert, creating the world’s largest gypsum dunefield.
Even though I’ve seen photos of White Sands, I didn’t expect it to actually be THAT white. Even from the car, it really looked like snow! There is an 8-mile drive around the dunes with places to stop and explore. Some sections of the road are covered by the sand and plows have had to push it to the side of the road just like snow. It’s like walking through snow fields at the beach. I was reminded of another magical Earthly spot: White Haven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands in Australia. The sand there is also so white it looks more like snow.
We found a perfect sledding spot that was quiet and had a great time! As one may expect, the sand is not quite as slippery as snow would be so it’s important to find a pretty steep dune. Our RV park in Alamogordo even lent us sleds, complete with some wax to make them go faster!
The juxtaposition of the snow white sand, the brilliant blue sky with perfect white clouds and the majestic range of the Sacramento Mountains in the distance made for a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle. It felt like we were suddenly on another planet!
In the afternoon, Grant and I went to explore the Lincoln National Forest near Cloudcroft, about 20 miles back up in the mountains. In those 20 miles, the mountain views are incredible and the landscape changes multiple times.
We came through Cloudcroft and the Lincoln National Forest on our way from Carlsbad to Alamogordo and the pine trees reminded me so much of my European Childhood, I had to go back there before we left the area.
We found a quick 5-mile hike and set out in the clear but chilly and windy afternoon to make it back before dark. It smelled like Christmas and even though it was a relatively short hike at around 8,500 feet, both Grant and I re-emerged from this magical forest feeling cleansed and energized.
It’s like walking through snow fields at the beach.
Travel with us:
This is a daily log and photos of what we’re up to.
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