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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I had basic training from Ft Bliss in White Sands. Do they still train there or has it all been made into a park?