White Sands National Park formerly White Sands National Monument was one for the RECORDS!!!! It changed to an official National Park Dec 2019 and now gets much needed funding.
Here’s some facts:
275 square miles of beautiful white selenite crystals that become “sand”. It washes down from the mountains into a lake that dries out in the summer. The crystals that form get taken by the wind and break down into what they call cornflake size crystals that as they tumble across the park turn into fine same.
20-60knot winds are present all year long in the park!
The desert is the largest of its type in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s home to 1200+ species. Coyotes, kit foxes, rattlesnakes, owls, jackrabbits, bob cats to name just a few.
The early settlers knew that just below the surface was water that got trapped in a basin of clay 100 feet down. The clay keeps the water from dissipating and therefore it’s accessible about 1 foot below the surface of the sand. This water feeds the ecosystem of the desert.
To be there and see the water was an experience in itself.
Some of the dunes move as much as 16ft/ year. Wow!! The water keeps the sand from leaving the park. Soooo interesting.
The kids even got to use sleds to take a ride down some of the “slopes”.
They said to date this was their favorite national park. Me too!!
We took a sunset tour with a ranger to experience the desert at sunset. It was extraordinary.
The day ended with the sun going down and us meeting another fulltime family just like us! We agreed to try and meet up on the road as they are also going west!