For Traveling Tuesday I normally write about far away places that take a lot of effort to visit. But our country is full of all sorts of amazing “foreign” places that we forget to go to, or even talk about. This week I am going to talk about White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. I have been here twice. Once during a college trip with Karina and Jo, and later on I brought Nate here to see the awesomeness.
White Sands National Monument is literally just white sand. A vast expanse of white, powder soft sand in the middle of the mountains. The sand is constantly moving around, the wind is constantly creating and destroying dunes, if you visit this place twice it will not look the same. The sand is all made out of gypsum (which is very rare) this has a few neat effects, firstly the sand is cool, like almost cold, despite the desert heat. Also Gypsum is water soluble so it will form a thin crust over the powder sand if gets wet. It is fun to jump on this layer and then sink into powder sand underneath. I now consider myself to be a sand and beach connoisseur and I can tell you this sand is tops, as nice as the best beaches in Thailand.
It is incredibly fun to to run around on these dunes. While here my inner child partook in somersaults, sliding, races up and down the dunes, jumping off the dunes and generalized ruckus making. *Note* Sarah is better at cartwheels then Nate, see pictures of Nate sitting on the dune after attempting a cartwheel
Other than just being a dork, there are really interesting plants to look at here. Some of the dunes will ‘freeze’ this is cause by a few rainy days in a row and plants that come in to take advantage of the growing crust layer. Some of the plants with take root in the soil beneath the dune and have trunks that reach up multiple yards so the leaves can stick out above the dune. There are bushes that will solidify the sand around their roots creating gypsum plateaus for themselves.
Woot! awesomeness in America!