Thursday, June 28, 2012

White Sands National Monument

Our last stop on the April road trip was White Sands National Monument. We stayed in Alamogordo which is a town that looks like it has hit hard times.  It's about 30 minutes from the park. Next time, I might try staying in Las Cruces.

White Sands
This was by far the kids favorite stop. We borrowed the Jr. Ranger backpacks & headed out an a mile "hike."
White Sands
The kids took turns reading the signs about the flora & fauna along the way.
White Sands
The sand dunes reminded us of our favorite beaches in Montauk. But, there is no ocean here.
White Sands
The dunes are made of gypsum which is water soluble. Normally, rain would wash away the dunes.
White Sands
According to wikipedia, "The Tularosa Basin is enclosed, meaning that it has no outlet to the sea and that rain that dissolves gypsum from the surrounding San Andres and Sacramento Mountains is trapped within the basin. Thus water either sinks into the ground or forms shallow pools which subsequently dry out and leave gypsum in a crystalline form, called selenite, on the surface. Groundwater that does flow out of the Tularosa Basin flows south into the Hueco Basin."
White Sands
The kids were anxious to start sledding, so we hit the slopes. You can buy wax for the sleds & "rent" sleds in the gift shop. I think it was $15 to buy the sled or $10 to rent it.
White Sands
The kids never gained that much speed, but they spent hours playing on the hills. The winds in the area created the dunes, so there was always a nice breeze.
White Sands
Greta eventually gave up on sledding & enjoyed the kite flying.
White Sands
Eventually, everyone got hungry. We didn't have time to go into town, so we grabbed some snacks at the gift shop & headed back to do a sunset stroll with the rangers.
White Sands
The kids loved hiking in the sand. I thought we were lucky to be there in spring when the sand was cool, but according to wikipedia, unlike the beach, this sand never gets that hot.
White Sands
We enjoyed watching the changing colors as the sun started to set.
White Sands
I can't remember what animal droppings Charlie almost stepped on, but the ranger pointed out water holes that the animals find.
White Sands
I think we spent nearly 8 hours at the park & the kids would have stayed longer.
White Sands
It is such a beautiful place. I am so glad we made the trip.
White Sands
I know Nick was disappointed that he couldn't take off from work to join us.
Pinwheels
If we make our way to Southern New Mexico again, I know the kids wouldn't mind spending another day or two at the greatest sandbox ever!

2 comments:

Kim said...

I am putting this one on our list! Sooooo gorgeous!!

shauna said...

The photos of the 3 kids rinning in the distance is spectacular........ We need to visit this place. You are the best mom ever Krista!!!!!