Julien and I have somewhat of a love affair with White Sands. If we can, whenever we are in the States, we go there. I checked my archives for our world trip and see that I failed to make a post about our last visit, which I shall rectify now. How's that for catching up on blogging?
The first time I took Julien (and two of his friends) to White Sands I had no idea how much they would enjoy it, so I didn't plan time to camp or stay more than an afternoon. The second time, after we were married, Julien and I took his brother to go see the dunes, this time armed with a tent. However, we arrived too late, so late the park ranger was locking the gate and preparing to leave. I begged and begged, telling the lady that the guys had come over from France and she capitulated and let us in, making us promise to head straight to our campsite and not get lost. Sadly, time still was not on our side and we had to hit the road and continue our trip the next morning.
The last time, this trip, we went prepared: tent, provisions, and three days at our disposal to really explore the park. At the desk, we reserved our site and asked to book subsequent nights in different spots, to which the park official sadly informed us that the monument would be closing the next day in preparation for military exercises. (White Sands is next to Holloman Air Force Base and its missile range.) Thwarted again. We were so bummed.
We got to take a few photos, enough to show you the lovely shades the gypsum takes on as the sun moves across the sky, but unfortunately, we had no time for hiking or exploring as we've always dreamed of doing...
, I'll answer your question in images. The sands really are that white during the brightest part of the day, but they are also:
dusky purple as the sun sets:
rich, chilling blue when autumn's sun disappears behind the San Andres Mountains, a warning of the cold desert night awaiting you;
come dayrise, the dunes are the color of sugar cookies or biscuits fresh from the oven:
then, for the rest of the day, you can enjoy the many nuances of white that the sands have to offer:
(click on any of the images to enlarge them)
I wish I would have taken time to blog about our visit just afterwards, about the smells, the air, the feel of the gypsum crystals on my bare feet, about the stars over our tent, about the feeling of going into the heart of the dunes and the peace I find there. But sadly, our next stop was with my family and I had no heart or time to wax about beauty after that.
These words that I just read in The Names of Things really speak to me when I think of that visit and look at that stunning orange foliage in the bottom collage:
"Something like the Fall in me
All my leaves were dying
They died in the most violent way
and turned screaming colors."
ETA: Oops, saw that the last image wasn't clickable. Fixed now.