White Sands National Monument, Alamogordo, New Mexico

Hank – After packing up camp on the base we went into town for breakfast. Then we drove to White Sands National Monument. This also was a stop on my Boy Scout tour in the summer of ’72. I remember it well because it’s exactly what the name says–white sands.

This area lies in a bowl surrounded by mountains. Gypsum deposits eroded over time to form the sand. Rain and snow and the water that runs down from the mountains stays in the bowl since it has nowhere to go. Consequently, the base layer is always wet. This allows plants to grow, which helps keep the sand in place. Sand dunes move 30-40 feet a year and some plants have evolved to use remarkable techniques for staying alive. The yucca, for example, will grow extremely long roots to stay above the slowly moving dunes.


People bought saucers at the gift shop and were sliding down dunes in them. The kids really liked that. Kathy and I drove through the park, stopping to walk around and explore.

Once done, we drove to Albuquerque and got a room at the inn on Kirkland AFB. We were originally going to get a camp site but the winds we’re 20-30 mph with 40 mph gusts and the temp was dropping down to the 20s. So we wisely got a room.

Kathy – White Sands National Monument is another spectacular site to visit. It is really interesting to see miles and miles of white sand in the middle of desert and mountain landscapes. The sand is so bright that even with sunglasses on it still makes you squint. It was pretty cool to see these massive mounds of sand that go on forever. After walking about in the sand and climbing some mounds our shoes were full of sand. Even though we tried to get all the sand off of us before getting into the car, a lot got in. There is no way they are ever going to be able to get all that sand out of the car.

The surrounding mountains are a beautiful contrast to the white sands. The road ended so most of our driving was on top of packed sand. They plow the area daily so cars can travel through. Often my mind would play tricks on me by thinking it was snow. The large mounds of sand everywhere the eye could see sure reminded me of the snow back home.

Happy to have a warm room and comfy bed at the Kirkland Air Force Base Lodging for the night. My brother Stan (a big-wig in the Air Force now) will be happy to know that our room is fantastic. Clean, no critters in the room, updated decor, and everything worked. We joked maybe we got one of the ‘enlisted rooms’ instead of the ‘retirees rooms’ (really there is no difference in the rooms – that we know of). Or, maybe they somehow knew we were related to Stan. 😄 If you had anything to do with our nice room, thanks Stan! 💗

Another good day of relaxing and seeing more of this beautiful country. Grateful.

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