The senses are confused. The day is very warm and the sky is overcast with a storm coming through. You start driving down the road and the land is shimmering white.
But it is not just the whiteness that throws you, it is the texture and the way the sand sits on the sides of the road. It looks like snow but a quick wind down of the windows and you know you are not in the snows of Canada. You are in the largest Gypsum sand dunes in the world in the Tularosa basin in New Mexico. With the winds blowing we had the joy of being on the dunes with not a soul around and new sculptures forming under our feet. The winds were blowing all evidence of human activity off the pristine skin of the dune. The parking area which has lots of neatly arranged shelters in the middle of the dunes looked very apocalyptic with the just the sand blowing hard in a deserted landscape that used to have humans roaming the land. No, it is not that I have an over active imagination this area is right beside the White Sands Missile Range, home of the Trinity Site which on July 16, 1945 tested the first atomic bomb. In fact you can even visit the site on bi-annual open days if you really feel the need.
The sands are majestic and looked different each day we visited. There are plants and animals that adapt to living here with some of the bushes clinging on for dear life and the sands continually move beneath their roots.
Nearby is the town of Alamogordo which does have the New Mexico Museum of Space History where you can delight in the marvels of man in space but if that doesn’t take your fancy then you can go burn some Harry Potter books which is also a favourite pasttime of Chirst Community Church. Go see the White Sands and then move swiftly on…
How to get there
U.S. Highway 70, 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Alamogordo and 52 miles east of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Alamogordo Roadrunner Campground which was friendly but the usual RV Ghetto setup which after travelling for a year send shivers down my spine.