I woke up Friday morning in the mood for a road trip of some kind. White Sands National Monument is a part of New Mexico we had not seen yet. So, after working a little in the morning we headed south about 1:00 PM for White Sands, a distance of 180 miles. It just happened that the Buckhorn Tavern was on the way about 50 miles south of us, so we stopped in for a green chile cheeseburger – they are world famous at the Buckhorn and the one we shared was great. We reached Alamogordo about 5:00 PM – checked into a cheap motel – then headed 15 miles west of there to the Monument. I was hoping for some pictures at sunset.
White Sands is a 275 square mile area in southern New Mexico formed from erosion of a huge gypsum deposit. Over the last several thousand years the soil has eroded away and the gypsum flaked from the affects of the winds forming gypsum sand which blows around in dunes much like we think of the sand in the Sahara desert. Much of the area is just pure white, smooth, gypsum flakes of sand blown into dunes with some sparse vegetation interspersed in-between. Other parts have more significant vegetation growing on dunes which are held more permanently in place by the vegetation.
We hiked a while and took some pictures until sunset on Friday evening, walking a little further than needed back to the parking lot because we were lost among the sand dunes – lol. The cell phone can normally find the car, but there’s no cell service in this little section of the world.
It’s a beautiful place at sunset – maybe a little eerie – like on a far-off planet somewhere. Saturday morning, we were up early – at the Monument gates when they opened hoping to get some sunrise shots. We stopped at a spot with some more vegetation on the dunes for the morning walk. There is scrub brush, yucca and cactus somehow surviving in the gypsum sand.
The geology of the high desert presents new things to see whatever direction we want to take. There are many adventures to be taken. There are so many National Parks and Monuments preserved for us in the West. We’ve visited many of them over the years. I happily pay taxes to man them with Rangers and maintain the roads and administer rules that keep them nice for me, my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Hopefully those grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be able to wake up on a Friday morning 40 years from now with an itch for a road trip and be able to head to White Sands and walk around on dunes that have been freely blowing in the wind all those in-between years. God blessed us with an incredible earth. Genesis tells us that God took Adam and placed him in the Garden to work it and take care of it. May we treat this incredible earth we have been given with great respect. It is strong and resilient but not beyond being damaged if in disregard we only take and do not give back. May we heed the instructions given to Adam long ago – work it and take care of it.