Thursday, June 17, 2010

White Sands

Driving back from Marfa we went a little bit past El Paso, to White Sands National Monument* in Alamogordo, New Mexico: the world's largest gypsum dune field, covering 275 square miles of desert. If you're ever in the area I highly recommend the stop--it was definitely the highlight of our day (and perhaps one of the highlights of the trip in general).

There's an eight mile drive you can take, with various stopping off points along the way. Above is the farthest point you can take. I was kind of obsessed with all of the covered picnic tables scattered throughout the parking area. I love the shapes and the random placement.

We had a lot of fun running up and down the dunes in our bare feet. I just wish there'd been an ocean to run into--it's kind of like a beach with no water.

These crazy looking plants were everywhere. Apparently they're soaptree yuccas.

A gypsum plant stand off in the distance.

Another one up close--it looks like some kind of weird Muppet creature.

I noticed a lot of these clusters of seeds gathered in indentations in the sand. I don't know if they naturally formed with the wind or if some animal has been doing some organizing. (Note the little footprints in the center.)

This tree is so creepy looking, I love it.

A steep incline--someone actually ran down this, as evidenced by the footprints.

The trail back to the car.

*If you've ever seen the Errol Morris movie Vernon Florida, you may recall the couple with the jar of New Mexican sand who claim that the sand grows. They most certainly collected that sand from this place, as the gypsum absorbs moisture (and back in their humid home state, there would be a lot of moisture to absorb)--thus the sand in fact does "grow".

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