As you’ll recall from last week my good college buddy and best man at our wedding — Mr. David Williams — decided to pay Ursula and I a visit. We of course decided to take him on the grand tour of the El Paso area, including one of David’s favorite locations, the White Sands National Monument.
Despite the name and contrary to appearances, there is very little sand here. That fine, powdery white stuff you see everywhere is gypsum crystal, which blows off Lake Lucero. Which reminds me. I’ve yet to do a blog post on Lake Lucero. Guess I’ll have to rig one up after I finish this series. Anyway, Lake Lucero is not an easy place to visit. You have to convoy in through a restricted military establishment, and there is only one tour a month from November through April. No one can get in from May through October.
As you can see it’s pretty desolate out amongst the gypsum dunes of White Sands. But there is life here — hearty vegetation grows along the edges of the main dune area, and lizards, snakes, and small mammals leave their tracks. Above you’ll find various raptors looking for easy pickings, and in the picnic areas huge blackbirds forage for scraps.
But deep within there is little vegetation and even less water. When rain does fall, the gypsum dissolves and then reforms as a thin crust along the surface of the dunes.
Sink your bare feet beneath that crusty surface and the soles will go from scorching heat into moist coolness in very short order.
It’s an enchanting place, but the bright sunlight reflecting off the gypsum crystals is brutal. Pack water, apply sunscreen, and wear a hat. During the hot months visit in the early morning, or take one of the Full Moon Tours offered once a month from late spring through mid fall.
And don’t forget the wax and plastic saucers for riding down the dunes. More on that on Wednesday!
By the way, if you’re reading this and other material authored by me on The Destinary website, this post was not “Posted on (fill in the date) | By destinary” as they’ve been erroneously claiming; this material was in fact reposted. The Destinary have also been claiming the right to do so, without links back to the original and without full attribution (“by RDoug” and a nonworking link is not proper attribution) with a rather bizarre interpretation of U.S. copyright law in which they claim I’m responsible for changing my RSS feed settings so that they cannot skim my material for commercial purposes. That would make reading my blog less convenient for you, which I’m not willing to do. As such, I’ll be running this little diatribe on all travel related posts until they cease and desist, along with this:
© 2015 R. Doug Wicker (RDougWicker.com)
All right reserved — that includes you, Destinary
Final note: Considering The Destinary is a site listed as owned by Sonia Bosquez-Platt of Indianapolis Tour & Travel, you may want to rethink doing business with her or her company.