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November 04, 2016

The beauty of White Sands National Monument

Today's post is taking it to back to our road trip out west, hopefully curbing my need to travel for a little longer.

I've been itching for another spontaneous adventure.  With less than a month until our trip to Tokyo, I'm getting really antsy!

Last time I left off, we were leaving Austin, Texas. We left early on a Friday morning, heading to Albuquerque where we planned to meet up with my best friends parents for a drink at an old psych ward.  That being said, we took an indirect route because I was told to make a pit stop at [White Sands National Monument], via a last minute recommendation from a friend.

I'm so glad we stopped.

White Sands was probably my favorite stop of the trip.  It was definitely the shortest, but by far the most impactful.

White Sands National Monument is in the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico. It's famous for its dramatic contrasting landscape of rare white gypsum sand dunes. Driving through it you would think you were surrounded by snow.

It was breathtaking, and slightly confusing for the mind to comprehend what you were looking at.

First you must stop by the visitors center where you can purchase water (necessary) and rent sleds (also necessary).

There were signs everywhere warning visitors to come prepared and don't enter the park without an ample supply of water.  Being the desert, it's extremely easy to get heat stroke.  We arrived around 5 so it was starting to cool off but it was still well over 100 degrees, with 0 humidity.

So yes, it was hot.

Once you are ready you begin driving through the 8 mile looped route to the Dune field.

It's a very pretty, surreal drive.  You are literally SURROUNDED by bright white sand.

We were so excited that we stopped halfway through the route to stop and begin exploring, frolicking in the white hot sand and attempt sledding.

Once you climb to the top of the dunes, it is DEAD silent.  It was the most bizarre experience.  I felt like I was on Mars, all alone in a foreign place.

We then tried our hand as sand sledding.  It proved to be a challenge.

Honestly I think we were just too heavy and we never got much traction.

Dan never gave up though, he was determined to go more than 1 mph down a dune.  After several attempts we found steeper dunes and tried out a running start.  Definitely the trick.  That and be under 80 lbs.

One of the picnic areas

There were a wide variety of activities visitors could partake in outside of driving and sledding.  The park has sites for backcountry camping, several areas for picnics, and hiking trails.

We just frolicked.

And it was amazing.

These views.  All the feels.

Dan had his fair share of photo ops as well.

Also, hydration was key, y'all!

We were just as happy as could be in this otherworldly place.

Once the sun started setting we proceeded to slowly start the drive back towards the entrance to continue our drive to Albuquerque.

Obviously we took even MORE photos to capture a desert sunset.

Did not disappoint.

We also proceeded to do a rain dance.

Never hurts to try.

Then, it was time to head back on the road since we still had several hours left in our drive.

I really didn't want to leave, however.  One day I want to go back and spend more than 3 hours there, possibly go camping.

It was honestly just so beautiful I could've sat perched on the top of a dune for a whole day to just take it all in.

If you are ever in the area, do yourself a favor and check it out.

It's so worth it.

Until next time,


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    Joseph ||

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