White Sands National Monument

After a week and a half of hookups, it was good to be out honing our boondocking skills again. Only a couple of miles from our destination was a small piece of BLM free camping land that served as our parking spot for the next eight days. It shows on maps as Holloman Lake and seems to be managed more by the nearby military base than by BLM personnel. We had a great boondocking experience at this location, if you don’t count the two days of high winds! Other boondockers popped in for a night or two at a time but nobody stayed as long as we did. The lake was man-made and nothing I wanted to break out the kayaks for but it did provide daily views of ducks and nightly visits by sandpipers chirping along the shoreline. We would stay here again – it provided quick access to our almost daily ventures into the White Sands National Monument.

As a side note, I was pretty happy that someone had placed several geocaches within a mile radius of our campsite! In due course, I wandered out to get them while Patricia worked on photo processing or web stuff. Lucky me!

White Sands is a region of dunes near Alamogordo, New Mexico. One thing that makes it so unique is the brilliant white color of the “sand”. The raw material of most sand dunes in the western US is quartz, which is rather hard and the grains are shaped more angular making it difficult to compact. The raw material of White Sands however is gypsum which is more flake-like and is soft making for a fairly firm walking surface. We liked that part!

We made several forays into the white dunes looking for photo ops. There were a lot of people early in our stay – apparently it was spring break! We had to hike out at least a quarter mile to find areas with no footprints. That wind storm I mentioned earlier proved to be good for Patricia’s photography because it wiped the slate clean, so to speak! As soon as the storms passed, we immediately ventured out a couple more times and were rewarded with a great many new scenes. I think she was pretty happy with the results.

In addition to the dunes, we explored the nearby town of Alamogordo. Groceries, laundry and free internet time were found easily. We dined out some as well enjoying a couple visits to one of our go-to chain restaurants (Chili’s) along with a great breakfast on our final day at the very popular Waffle & Pancake Shoppe. I love a good chicken fried steak breakfast and they had a great one complete with the option of this region’s famous green chili sauce instead of country gravy – very tasty!

Critter Prints

Critter Prints

Because of our proximity to the Holloman Air Base, we were treated to a daily air show of jets. Their engine roar was fairly loud but no night ops while we were there so it didn’t interrupt our sleep. We had a pretty solid sonic boom one day! How cool is that?

This location had been on Patricia’s photo “bucket list” for some time and now she got to check it off. This won’t be a “one and done” though! We will be back – Patricia for more photo ops and me for more chicken fried steak with green chili sauce!

Doodles in the sand when you are waiting for sunset.

Doodles in the sand when you are waiting for sunset.