Desert snowstorm mirage at White Sands National Park

The temperature on the dashboard reads 88 degrees. You shake your head because you can’t wrap your mind around what your eyes tell you. You are driving in a blizzard and drifts cover the lane ahead…

Welcome to the White Sands of New Mexico. When we arrived in Delta Flyer, it was merely a national monument. Soon after, it was promoted to National Park.

MEANWHILE…
RVoyager Camped at Hacienda RV Resort

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
  • Super hot tub
  • Good wifi
  • Paved

We begin most of our NPS sessions by getting our passport book stamped, watching the video and learning from interactives at the Visitor Center.

Some White Sands facts that stood out:

  • The boundaries of the sands of White Sands are ever shifting
  • The only stable hillocks form because the plant on top rooted to defend against that constant movement
  • Other plant strategies are grow fast and/or tall
  • Animals survive by adapting, like the salamander evolved white skin
  • The sand isn’t sand but gypsum

Next, we drove to the short boardwalk trail.

  • Bush on sand mound
  • Orange and red flower surrounded by sand
  • Sand plow ridge along the road, distant RV in approaching in background
  • Scrub brush with yellow and orange blossoms surrounded by sand
  • Adventure travelers Bill Sims and AJ Barrett posing with gusts of white sand in the air beyond them

We snapped a few shots but life there really is sparse. Unless you count the people who did not speak English and therefore could not read the sign forbidding them to do exactly what they did: climb off the boardwalk and walk around, trampling precious plant life.

Recommendation: NPS should create signage every human can understand.

Map showing the scenic drive and trails.
Official park map, source: NPS. Follow the image link to download the official drive map.

Further along the scenic drive we encountered people heading out to sled the dunes — in the designated area. There, Bill enjoyed a climb to the top of a dune.

We loved attempting tricky snow mirage pics, but for the most part, WSNP is not photogenic. We discovered that the sand up close wasn’t that white, while the shots we aimed into blowing gypsum tinted grayish or pinkish.

  • Road with sand drifts
  • In distance people sledding down dunes
  • Sand plow ridge along the road, distant RV in approaching in background
  • Ripply white sand with sand dust cloud drifting
  • Distant figure of man atop white dune, blue sky and streaky clouds overhead
  • Adventure traveler Bill descends the dune carefully
  • Road buried in sand drifts.

Official White Sands NP info:

White Sands National Park
Alamogordo, New Mexico

(575) 479-6124
https://www.nps.gov/whsa/index.htm

News feed from White Sands NP:

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