The Williams Tour Part 3 — David Williams at White Sands National Monument


The Star of this Series — David Williams

The Star of this Series — David Williams

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.

Ursula Holds her Hat

Ursula Holds her Hat

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.

Stretching for miles

Stretching for miles

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.

White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument

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.

Gypsum Dunes

Gypsum Dunes

Sink your bare feet beneath that crusty surface and the soles will go from scorching heat into moist coolness in very short order.

Footprints in the Gypsum

Footprints in the Gypsum

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.

Sparse Vegetation

Sparse Vegetation

And don’t forget the wax and plastic saucers for riding down the dunes.  More on that on Wednesday!

San Andres Mountains in the background

San Andres Mountains in the background

Old Fence

Old Fence

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.

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One response to “The Williams Tour Part 3 — David Williams at White Sands National Monument

  1. Pingback: The Williams Tour of the El Paso Area - Page 2 - WaltherForums