Skip to main content

Cross Country Roadtrip - Day 5 Part 1 - White Sands National Monument - 04/22/10

Day 5 would see the start of the journey back east, but more on that in my next entry.  On the way towards Midland, TX from Albuquerque, we scheduled a stop at White Sands National Monument - located on US 70 just southwest of Alamogordo.   I'm beginning to think I have this attraction to sand dunes as this is the third sand dune oriented park I have been to.  (Jockey's Ridge State Park along North Carolina's Outer Banks and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore in Michigan.)

White Sands National Monument was strikingly different.  The first reason is obvious, the white sand.  But the second difference is at White Sands you really are surrounded by what seems to be endless sand dunes.

I have some of my favorite shots from White Sands below.  The entire set (88 photos) are located on flickr.

One of the first stops is the Dune Life Trail.  The one mile loop trail is well marked and it is really the first opportunity to walk on the sand.  It is an interpretive trail with many markers explaining details about the dune's habitat along the way.

IMG_5701

A single tree - White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument

After the mile or so hike - it did seem longer - it was back onto Dunes Drive.  Dunes Drive leads to the heart of the sand dunes.  After awhile, the pavement ends and you are driving on what pretty much is compacted sand and gypsum.

The road looks like this!

Dunes Drive - White Sands National Monument

From there there are many stops for you to explore the sand dunes including the Alkali Flat Trail.   When hiking the Alkaki Flat Trail, individuals are required to sign in and sign out.  This is because of the extreme conditions - sand storms, low visibility and heat - can leave a hiker stranded.

One of the amazing things about being on the dunes is that you have a top of the world, last man standing feeling.  Though others are nearby, you can have a rather comforting feeling of isolation on the dunes.  It is quite an experience.

IMG_5770

The white dunes also put on a show.  Depending on the amount of clouds, the dunes can be a blinding white or a soft off-white.  With variable cloud cover, the colors of the dunes dance with the passing clouds.

Rolling sand dunes - White Sands National Monument

IMG_5762

From here it was back into Alamogordo for lunch and then east onto US 82 for an amazing drive.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

US Route 101 in Benbow, Garberville and Redway

The communities of Benbow, Garberville and Redway can all be found along US Route 101 within southern Humboldt County.  The former surface alignment of US Route 101 in Garberville and Redway once crossed the Garberville Bluffs along what is now Redwood Drive via a corridor constructed as part of the Redwood Highway during the 1910s.  US Route 101 through Benbow, Garberville and Redway was modernized by 1935.  US Route 101 would eventually be upgraded to freeway standards in Benbow, Garberville and Redway by extension of the Redwood Freeway during 1966-68.  As the cover photo the original grade of US Route 101 and the Redwood Highway can be seen at the Garberville Bluffs during 1934.  US Route 101 can be seen in the communities of Benbow, Garberville and Redway on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Humboldt County .   The history of US Route 101 in Benbow, Garberville and Redway Benbow, Garberville and Redway lie on the banks of the South Fork Eel River of southern Humboldt County.  D

Highways in and around Old Sacramento; US 40, US 99W, CA 16, CA 24, CA 70, CA 99, CA 275, and more

This past weekend I was visiting the City of Sacramento for a wedding.  That being the case I decided to head out on a morning run through Old Sacramento, Jibboom Street Bridge, I Street Bridge, Tower Bridge, and path of US Route 40/US Route 99W towards the California State Capitol.  My goal was to retrace the paths of the various highways that once traversed the Old Sacramento area. This blog is part of the larger Gribblenation US Route 99 Page.  For more information pertaining to the other various segments of US Route 99 and it's three-digit child routes check out the link the below. Gribblenation US Route 99 Page The old highway alignments of Sacramento The City of Sacramento lies at the confluence of the Sacramento River and American River in Sacramento Valley.  Sacramento Valley was discovered by Spanish Explorer Gabriel Moraga in 1808.  Moraga referred to the fertile Sacramento Valley akin to a "Blessed Sacrament."  By 1839 John Sutter Sr. settled in Mexican held

Old Stage Road in Tulare County and Kern County

Old Stage Road is an approximately 30-mile rural highway comprised of Tulare County Mountain Road 1, Kern County Mountain Road 447 and Tulare County Mountain Road 109.  Old Stage originates at Jack Ranch Road near Posey and ends at the outskirts of Porterville at Deer Creek.  Old Stage Road notably is comprised of two 19th Century stage routes.  From White Mountain Road northwest to Fountain Springs, Old Stage Road overlays Thomas Baker's 1860s era stage road to Linn Valley (now Glennville) and the Kern River Gold Rush Claims.  From Fountain Springs to Deer Creek, Old Stage Road is comprised of the 1853 Stockton-Los Angeles Road. Featured as the blog cover is the northward descent on Old Stage Road along Arrastre Creek to the town site of White River.  What became White River was settled along a spur of the Stockton-Los Angeles Road as "Dog Town" when gold was discovered nearby.  By 1856 the community had been renamed Tailholt.  A stage road from Tailholt to Linn Valley w