Friday, October 11, 2013
White Sands National Monument
During our mid-September visit to New Mexico we ventured out to White Sands National Monument. I must admit after hearing Andrews’s family talk about it and reading about Gerhard's visit (here and here) I was pretty amped up about what awaited me.
When expectations are that high reality can only go downward, right?
Ya. Well remember this post when I talked about epic rainfall and flooding? Well after we paid the admission fee and were traveling along the magical roadway to white paradise all of a sudden it ended and we were forced to park alongside the road. Turns out the road and parts beyond were flooded out. I was disappointed. No fabulous futuristic eating areas, no white on white vistas as far as the eye could see.
We were stopped at the point where plants and white sands were still heavily mixed. Initially I wanted to experience the other worldliness of nothing but white sand, however as I wandered among the dunes I became captivated by the plant life. This wasn’t so bad!
There were a few of those tall sand structures dotted around the landscape. That’s Andrew to the right. He couldn’t resist investigating. Doesn’t he look a bit like those blurry Sasquatch photos you see?
There were a also few plants I would have really like to dig and bring home. This was one of them.
It wasn’t solely about the plants however. We were joined by several lizards. Mr. Blue here was the most colorful.
If you’re wondering about the sand it’s actually naturally occurring gypsum. Normally, it would be dissolved by rainfall and journey on to the ocean, however since there is no outlet to the oceans for this bit of land (the Tularosa Basin) gypsum from the surrounding San Andres and Sacramento Mountains is trapped here. The wind moves the sand around and reconstructs the dunes almost daily. Since we visited the day after record rainfall it was freakishly wet.
Who is that strange man?
I really wanted to take this beauty with me.
After we hiked through the dunes for quite awhile we then ventured over to the boardwalk (a suspended metal pathway) and read the educational signs.
It’s really better to be educated after the fact. I kept thinking I saw snakes but they were just dried up stems and leaves.
Ya. There were scary snakes out there!!!
But some cute creatures too.
They’re saying the Soaptree Yucca (Y. elata) can actually work to outgrow the moving sands. I wish I had time and a shovel and could dig down to expose that amazing underground trunk.
At the end of the boardwalk was this quote: “Anything that lives where it would seem that nothing could live, enduring extremes of heat and cold, sunlight and storm, parching aridity and sudden cloudbursts, among burnt rocks and shifting sands, any such creature, beast, birds, or flower, testifies to the grandeur and heroism inherent in all forms of life. Including the human. Even in us." – Edward Abbey
As I wrote this post and tried to link to the White Sands National Monument website I am reminded there are forces even more destructive than Mother Nature. She may have closed the road into the park but our government has succeeded (at this time) in not only closing down the entire monument but also the website. Pathetic. I'm glad I got to visit when I did.
All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.
Labels: New Mexico 2013