Three hours away from Carlsbad Cavern is this magical place called White Sands National Monument. It is a place about seven miles away from the small city of Alamogordo, and might be the main reason people even stay in that city. When we checked into our hotel, one of the first things the front desk clerk asked was “are you guys here to see the White Sands?”.
The strange thing about White Sands National Monument is that you just don’t expect there to be this area of beautiful white sand if you were driving down the highway. It’s not like when you go to Yosemite National Park, the way leading to the entrance is already filled with trees and forests. No, the immediate area surrounding White Sands is just like the rest of New Mexico – flat, earthy, full of desert plants.
And yet, as soon as we drove through the entrance, we were met with a beautiful landscape of white sand dunes as far as the eye could see. Specifically, 275 square miles.
Standing deep in the middle of it all, I honestly could not see anything but soft white sand. It was beautiful and mesmerizing, and if we didn’t have a plane to catch out of Albuquerque later that day (3.5 hour drive), I would have loved to have stayed for so much longer.
You really feel isolated from the world there. Aside from us talking to each other, there was literally no other sounds to be heard. No chirping birds, no winds, no cars, nothing. Actually, it felt eerily quiet. But I guess if you really wanted to do some deep thinking without any kind of distractions, this would be a great place to sit down and immerse yourself in your thoughts.
And then… we had a bit of fun.
Apparently, a popular thing to do here is to go sledding. We were staying at the Holiday Inn at Alamogordo for the night, and the front desk clerk mentioned sledding. Then he said that they actually provide free sled rentals to their hotel guests. How nice is that?!
(Btw, at the park itself, it’s a $17 rental fee, but I think they buy it back from you for $5 or something ridiculous.)
Having rarely been to snowy areas, I am not particularly well-versed in sledding. Let’s just say I had problems… haha.
For SOME reason, I always end up in that position (see above) when I’m halfway down the slopes. WTH?!?! It felt just like tubing all over again, haha. So bumpy that I end up losing control.
It must be just me doing it wrong because Joseph never had any problems! Hiss.
We had a great laugh about it, and it was such a fun little activity to do. I actually kind of not doing more, even after the many failures, hah. We videotaped some of it, so you might see that video popping up in the near future.
It’s amazing what mother nature is capable of, and things like this – unexpected white sand paradise in the middle of the desert – is becoming something I will go out of my way to visit and experience. I don’t know when we’ll be in New Mexico again, so I’m glad we covered this on our trip.