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Posts Tagged ‘White Sands National Monument’

We arrived in Silver City, NM, 6000+ feet high and it’s still hot. Not as hot, but hot. We had an uneventful day of driving yesterday down a pleasant road. We reached Silver City around 3:30. (Somewhere there was a time change.) It’s supposed to rain for the next 3 days, possibly heavily. So we decided the cooler, showery weather might be great for White Sands. That meant getting closer to White Sands (that doesn’t have a campground we can stay in). More driving.

We woke up early on Thursday and decided to check out the historic downtown area and the Big Ditch. The Big Ditch occurred around 1895 when a 12-foot high, 300-foot wide wall of water destroyed Silver City’s Main Street. Ten years later, it did it again. So as from lemon to lemonade, they created a nice little park along the harmless looking Ditch. Mostly dry this September. Downtown is only a block away so we ambled down the empty streets. Apparently this was once a 2 theater town, but one is half a Barber Shop and the other one is empty, as are many of the storefronts. Charming, nonetheless.

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We got back to camp around 8:30 and I stopped at the office for a dozen, made-on-the-spot mini-donuts. How much, you ask? Well, in San Francisco, I’m guessing they would sell for $6 per dozen. In Silver City? $2 per dozen. Thank you, New Mexico. After licking our fingers, we ate a peach to finish breakfast, showered, packed up and headed east again for 180 miles to Oliver Lee State Park, about 14 miles south of Alamogordo, NM and 30 miles away from White Sands National Monument. It’s still in the 90’s here but electricity at the site allows for air conditioning and the views are wonderful, especially with all the clouds.

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It was quite an exciting night. The Thunder and Lightening Show was amazing. It lasted most of the night, along with the rain, that started around 7:30 and lasted almost until morning. The next day was a quiet one. We lounged around all day and never drove a vehicle. That was very nice after driving 900 miles in 5 days. That may not sound all that much but we usually drive the motorhome around 55 mph. If we drove faster, our gas consumption would drop from the 8 mpg we usually get. The campsite has tiny red ants but so far they’ve kept out of the vehicle. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Friday morning, we were trying to capture the fog hanging in Dog Canyon. Friday night, the cameras came out again to try to capture the rainbow. The clouds here are just wonderful. They evolve from thin little wisps into puffy cumulous into dark lemon-yellow, malicious layers. What a great spot this is!

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On Saturday, we got up early and were at White Sands National Monument by 8:30. We started our 5-mile hike with lots of clouds casting variable shadows on the dunes. By 9:30, we were in a bowl of sunlight. Luckily, the dunes varied in their shades, so they had darker and lighter gradations. And the surrounding mountains were covered with clouds.

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The hike was pleasant, with a small, cool breeze refreshing us whenever we were at the top of a dune. We ate lunch at the halfway point and saw the only other hikers on the trail that day, going barefoot in the sand. Then we saw a small, albino hiker out for a stroll. After that, we kept seeing even smaller lizards skittering over the sand.

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I really pooped out during the last mile of the hike. It was so hot, the sweat running into my eyes was irritating my contacts and I had to take them out. It was lucky Dave was with me because I couldn’t make out the trail posts in the distance. The nice little breeze disappeared and I finally dragged myself back to car and turned on the air conditioning. Oh blessed relief. Further relief was obtained at the Visitor Center, where a cold Coke was liquid manna from heaven. I’m not crazy about Coke but oh baby, was it good! On the way back to camp, I was sufficiently recovered to want to stop to photograph the Alamogordo neon rocket sign. Old and abandoned when we first saw it years ago, it somehow survives.

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