I don't remember the first time I read about White Sands or saw pictures of the place. It may have been on Pinterest. Or some travel blogger writing about it. I don't know. What I know though is that this place has been on my travel bucket list for some time.
Then, while organizing my trip, I realized that the site wasn't just around the corner. At least, not around the corner of the other places I wanted to visit. For a second I considered not going there. One second. Not more. Then I decided the detour would be worth the additional miles I would have to drive. 4 hours south from Santa Fe, 6 hours north, the next day, to Taos. Had I decided against visiting White Sands, my drive from Santa Fe to Taos would have taken 2 hours (sigh).
Whatever. I didn't care. I wanted to see for myself and ... I was right. It was way (and I mean wwwwaaayyyy) worth the detour. What an incredible place. You arrive from Alamogordo (where I spent the night), the San Andres Mountain in front of you, the "normal" New Mexico landscape all around you. And then suddenly ... dunes. Like really white dunes.
It was hot like hell but the skies were dark (it rained during the night and the next day!). Therefore, the whole experience was even more dramatic.
Like No Place On Earth says the official website ... I don't know about that ... What I know is that I spent an amazing afternoon driving around, absorbing the beauty of the site, taking pictures, absorbing more beauty. I was lucky BTW (thank you, Travel Gods!). What I didn't know was that the monument could close its doors due to missile testing. Yes. Missile testing. The Holloman Air Force Base is located nearby and from time to time they fly their missiles over the park and that's when they have to close down the whole thing for the public. Luckily, the afternoon of my visit wasn't one of the test days! If you ever decide to go ... check out their website before planning your trip. These tests are usually organized well in advance and the dates are published on the internet.
This is my favorite picture (my actual screen saver) (more of them in a separate post) (I swear, no photoshop!)