Monday, January 23 – cont. We continue our blog of our stay in Las Cruces, NM. (We have actually moved down the road to Casa Grande, AZ).
After our super visit to the Missile Museum, our next stop was the White Sands National Monument.
Our Senior America the Beautiful pass awarded us free entry to the park. If you haven't heard, the pass for anyone 62 years of age cost $10, but an increase to $80 was recently approved and will take effect soon. So if you don't have a pass yet and you are 62 years old, better act now! We asked and the price today was still at the $10 level.
At the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert lies a mountain ringed valley, the Tularosa Basin. Rising from the basin is one of the world's great natural wonders – the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand cover 275 square miles of desert, the largest gypsum dune field in the world.
We stopped first at the Visitor's Center where we viewed a short video about the sand dunes. We then drove into the dune field to the Interdune Boardwalk. This handicap accessible walk took us several hundred feet out into the dunes. Nice opportunity for those unable to climb in the sand dunes.
Our next stop was at the Heart of the Sands backcountry hiking trail. We were surprised to find the sand easier to hike in then we expected. It is very well packed and only on the downwind hillsides was it soft, and we sunk in. We hiked out into the dunes for a couple hours. Someone could sure get lost out there. No landmarks to guide us, but the trail was marked with orange posts to get us safely back to the parking lot. Of course we needed to know which direction to go on the trail.
Nature at its finest.
Marsha made an attempt of sliding down one of the dunes on a piece of cardboard, but it wasn't slippery enough. They sell plastic saucers in the Visitor's Center that the kids love to use to “sled” on the dunes.
We enjoyed our visit to the Dunes, and think it is definitely worth the stop. A one of a kind place to see. We enjoyed the feeling of being totally isolated out there in the middle of 275 square miles of sand. Pretty unique!
That was it for today. We returned to Las Cruces to visit with friends, Pam and John, who happen to be staying at the same campground as us. We have more adventures coming up, so stop back!
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y’all back real soon. Have a great day!