Wednesday, July 22, 2009

White Sands National Monument Hike

Decided to head out to White Sands National Monument last weekend. Since mid July is not the best time to visit the southern New Mexico desert and since I live right down the street, I'd give it a quick look and see what it had to offer for future exploring. Well I got and early start to beat the heat, and to my surprise it happened to be a mostly cloudy day with a cool breeze blowing. I always bring my day pack when I head out and since I had plenty of food and water, thought I go ahead and do some hiking. After a quick stop at the welcome center I settled on a trail at the far end of the park in the Heart of the Dunes.

The road heads in 8 miles, bring plenty of water as they tell you more than once, Theres not water past the gate.

Arrived at the trailhead, the Alkali Flats trail is a 4 1/2 mile loop trail into the far reaches of the park. The is no actual trail to follow, you hike from one marker to another as the dunes are always moving.

View from the trailhead

Yours Truly sporting mysytlish hiking gear.

Some Plants and animals have learned to adapt and even thrive in the harsh enviorment.

Take only pictures, leave only foot prints

Trail markers, some are close together, some are up to 500 yards apart, others disappear altogether in the shifting dunes.

Hard to see in this shot, but when the sun is at the right angle the gypsum crystals sparkle like dimonds in the sands.

The white dunes are just beautiful.

At 2 1/2 miles in you can see parts of the White Sands missile range complex in the distance.

Where the cystals form t make up the dunes.

The inter dune area where plants thrive before being engulfed by the ever moving dunes.

A lonely Soaptree Yucca.
Well thats it, a quick glimps into the White Sands National Monument, if you are ever down in south central New Mexico, the dunes are well worth checking out.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day out in the Sacramentos

As many of you know, and some that don't, Sheryl had tohave major surgery a couple of weeks ago. Luckly I am not working at the moment and have been able to stay home and take care of her during her recovery. She is doing very well now and told me to get out and do something before I go stir crazy around the house. Ok, I took her advice and decided to give my new (to me) Glock 22 a test drive as well as get out a explore a new trail. I headed into the Sacramento mountains, just into the Linclon NF (gotta love the forest as your back yard) to a well established shooting area and ran several rounds threw her.

I've never owned a semi auto pistol, however have shot a few. I picked up this Glock 22 at a pretty reasonable price which included 3 mags and a case. I've never shot a .40 cal before and have heard many bad stories of how unplesent they are to shoot. I can say this little Glock was a joy to shoot and the .40 rounds don't kick as much as I was expecting.

Well, after my range time, it was time to hit the trail and do some exploring. I have been wanting t check out the Mill Ridge trail since it's close to the house and it just happens to be across from the shooting area, so off I went.

The trail is pretty rocky, not large rocks just a lot of loose sand and gravel with a few ledges built in. the steepness of the trail is what makes it a little more challenging, the small rocks and gravel act as ball bearings, you tend to slide or have difficulty getting traction. Still a fun time and great scenery. The trail is slow going, but then opens up to some beautiful meadows once on top of the table area.

The trail continues through the meadows with few more climbs and rocky areas.

The trail ends at an overlook above the town of Alamogordo, NM. This will made a great camping spot for a quick getaway. The veiws of White Sand National Monument and the Tularosa Basin are just breathtaking

After staying out for a bit, I wanted to get back to Sheryl, again she is doing well and on the road to full recovery. This hic-up in her (our life) has shown us just haw fragile life can be, and as she gets stronger and better we will be exploring more and more. We have also learned, if you want to travel, get out and do it now, don't wait till you feel the time is right, as the right time maybe taken from you in a instant. So until next time, start Lovin your Life as we do ours.