Road Notes: Day 199
We spent today exploring White Sands National Monument in New Mexico -- our last stop before we start the slow trek towards Las Vegas. We've parked the camper at a free campsite (just a few miles from the visitor center) that is apparently military-owned and occasionally used for missile tests. We keep seeing flashes in the distance but we tell ourselves it's just lightning.
White Sands is like another planet. It's, well, white. Blindingly white. Uncomfortably white. Even with sunglasses on looking at stuff is kinda painful. The desert sun is, ya know, unforgiving and the bright white landscape just serves as an amplifier. We actually couldn't even see our screens/viewfinders when snapping photos (and our light meter readings were off-the-charts) so we pretty much shot everything blind. The place is so obnoxiously beautiful though we knew we could just point and shoot.
The dunes at White Sands were (are?) created as a result of 10,000 years of flooding and subsequent evaporation, leaving behind dissolved gypsum from the surrounding mountains. According to the visitor center, at 10,000 years old, the dunes are still quite "young."
Against Lauren's strong objection I broke down and purchased a sled in the gift shop for $13.99 (and a cube of red sled wax for $1.99). She later was forced to admit that sledding is fun and that I'm really smart and that she eats snails.
We left for a bit in the middle of the day (to make lunch) but came back for the sunset (which was !!!). We will miss New Mexico something awful. We've really fallen for the beauty and the history and the ridiculous variety of climates and landscapes. We will be back soon.
Tomorrow we are Arizona bound.
Road Notes are timed entries—written in thirty minutes or less at the end of our day. Considerations are made for spelling/legibility but not for grammar. Deal with it.