White Sands comprises of a large area of gypsum crystals. As we approached White Sands all we could see was a sea shining in the midday sun. The area all around us was white as if it had freshly snowed. This was just at the visitor centre and we had not even entered the park yet. Read about more of Gypsum here and how it is formed. Very interesting details explained. I did learn something from this trip.. all about gypsum :)
The White Sands area is an active missile testing area. They have scheduled closures of the White Sands Monument and Highway 70. They are updated usually 24 hours before. You can check updated details HERE. The Monument has historical significance.
During the Second World War, when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7th 1941, the US Government responded by setting up a permanent residence in Tularosa Basin creating White Sands Proving Grounds now known as White Sands Missile Range as well as the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range known as the Hollowan Air Force Base.
White Sands Missile Range was one of the key Manhattan Project which developed the first atomic bomb during World War II. The testing of the first atomic bomb took place in 1945 at the Trinity Site on WSMR 65 miles north of White Sands National Monument.
(above ref White Sands website)
There is an annual public visit to the Trinity Site. You can check more details HERE
We didn't have much time so we planned to do the InterDune hike and take the 5 mile drive into the park. To experience this park you need to get out of your car and venture out onto the soft sand. I felt as if I was on a beach .. just without water touching my feet. Little Had we known we would have brought the sled along so we could have had more fun. None the less we did even without it.
The total amount of time spent here was under 30 mins. We saw some pawprints in the sand and learnt about the vegetation and how the plants survive.
We drive for around 5 miles and spent some time playing in the sand. Buy a saucer/sled that you can play with from the visitor centre. Walking in the sand surely was good exercise. Just make sure you have some snacks at hand once your back.
|Good exercise climbing up here|
|Patterns in the sand|