Honestly white sands NP deserves it’s own post, which it shall have… We knew we couldn’t safely make it there in one night (plus they were closed for missile testing) so we crashed in Roswell in a dinky little motel. We were kinda tired so didn’t really explore, but we made it out bright and early and took I-70 west and made it to the visitor center by 3pm. We were in luck and they still had backpacking campsites so we paid our $6 bucks a head and made our way to the site.
Most of the road is paved but the second half is packed gypsum, apparently just like the sand dunes which slowly turned whiter and whiter and most vegetation shrank away. We made it to the parking lot and considering our mile hike through the dunes to the site we decided to store as much unneeded gear in the motorcycle’s saddlebags as possible. We finally took off with our sacks, food, water, and jackets over about 20 dunes in the sun to our site. The path was marked by little marked poles every few tenths of a mile and soon we were far from civilization with the San Andres mountains looming in front of us.
We had our cute little valley to set up camp in, and dunes on all sides of us to climb. It really was breathtaking, ripples and ripples, endless curves of white dunes all with their individual characteristics yet connected as part of the same landscape. we ran, jumped, slid down dunes, it really is a magical place. Cooking dinner on our little alcohol stove was tiring in the cold, but we quickly wolfed down whatever it was we ate, and jumped into our sleeping bags. Packing up wasn’t too difficult, but it was a shame we couldn’t stay there for 2 or 3 nights. Oh well maybe next time, I think we had to leave anyway, because they were missile testing. On the road, quick oil change, and we were off to Santa Fe!
PS This was the first (but not the last) campsite where we had to take all the water with us that we would need; water for drinking, cooking, washing dishes and a nice cup of coffee 🙂 This time we didn’t need to take shower water – we have a solar shower that came in really handy a couple of days later, but more on that in another post…
I saw the most beautiful shooting star while we were making dinner! 🙂 Magic!
The next morning’s hike back to the parking lot/trailhead was just as special as spending the night in the dunes – we saw a surprising variety of animal prints.