Friday, August 10, 2007

White Sands National Monument

Today we visited White Sands National Monument.

We had aimed to get there early in the morning but coordinating 11 women to be ready and leave and have a picnic packed and all of our knitting and making sure everyone has what they need...takes...a...long...time. We were planning to arrive at 10:00 but didn't get there until nearly 12. We stopped at the visitor's center first where the forecast was posted:

There is a loop drive that you can follow to go out 8 miles into the dunes. Part of the road is constantly experiencing encroaching sand dune drifts. The park maintains the road by plowing it! Us New Englanders were struck by how many similarities there are between the behavior of sand dunes and that of snow drifts.

Being in the desert at noon isn't the greatest idea. It was gorgeous enough that we all donned a hat and massive amounts of sunscreen to sit and knit amongst the beauty for a short while.

The group trekked out a ways until we found a suitably beautiful spot. The most remarkable thing to me, beyond the obvious other wordly experience of being surrounded by white sand dunes, was that the sand was cool. Literally, cool to the touch. The sun was at its midday 100 degrees scorching strongest and the sand was cool to walk on. I have yet to understand why.

White Sands is one of those places that photos cannot accurately capture. The expansiveness of the dunes, the texture of the sand and the details of the dune patterns were all truly amazing.

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