On the white sands of Tularosa Basin…we couldn’t help but walk “bare feet” …and found ourselves not just in tune with the wonder of nature around us but also deeply in tune with our inner self. Such is the gravitating effect of New Mexico’s white sand dunes, the world’s largest gypsum dune field – mysteriously yogic and snow white. White sands are spread out over some 275 square miles of Chihuahuan desert in the Tularosa Basin surrounded by San Andres and Sacramento mountains. Gypsum deposits from the mountains get washed away with the rain and are trapped in the Tularosa Basin. After the rains evaporate, they leave behind white crystals which eventually break down into fine white sands. The wildlife at white sands blends with its environment– the wildlife has evolved and adapted to the drifting white sands and many of the animals have light coloration skin that helps them camouflage easily.
We traveled to White Sands National Monument from El Paso, TX, heading towards the town of Alamogordo, about 90-minute drive over I-10 and US-70 East route crossing Las Cruces and the famous Organ mountains.
The historic Spanish pueblo style visitors center which is part of the core revival project greets you at the entrance to the monument. At the visitor center, we were oriented with an awe-inspiring short film, “Land in Motion”. If you plan to stay until sunset, the visitor’s center offers star gazing tips as well.
The expanse of sands can be overwhelming at times. We did find a little fear creeping up on us … of getting lost and …of perhaps not being able to find our way back from the Big Dune hiking trail. So we decided to stick alongside picnic areas where we could feel the presence of humans and perhaps catch a whiff of some grilling. We did enjoy a barbecue. Seemingly FLAT and about 30 mins, the traction of the ever-changing dunes with the whiteness reflecting the sunlight and parched throat on the dry desert land can surely warrant a change of its description. We thanked ourselves for keeping extra bottles of water as a precaution.
White sands were a unique and mesmerizing experience. As someone has correctly said; “Human spirit needs places where nature hasn’t been rearranged by man”- author unknown.
The mesmerizing white sands are surely one such place.
Photo credits: Sayali Thorat
Rohit Kadam was born in Satara, Maharashtra. He completed his school and college in Pune. He earned his B.E. in I&C from VIT Pune, in 2007, and M.S. (ECE) from Oklahoma State University in 2010. He is an electrical engineer by profession and an active member of AMM.
Rohit can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.