I was a person who never thought that I would love to jot down my memories in the form of blog. But today, sitting in a cafe and sipping a cup of hot mocha, I realized that I could have started writing a bit earlier because it so much fun & engaging.
This blog should have been written many days before but back then I was not a blogger.This travelogue is a little funny because it starts with a big question - White Sands National Monument during summer, are you kidding ? My blog on White Sands National Monument, New Mexico would either make you feel " Oh my! I wanna go there" or " Nah, this is not the place for me".
Last year , we friends devised a little trip, not little but a much longer road trip during the summer . We thought of doing something unusual & that was to cover New Mexico in 3 days. Actually one needs around 14 hours to reach the downtown of Santa Fe, New Mexico. So if you are planning, plan for minimum 5 days. It is worth a visit.
We did not do any advance booking for hotels & everything was on the go. Totally relied on Hotels.com.Friday afternoon traffic was so horrendous that we had to stop over at San Antonio, Texas.Our actual plan was to pit stop at Ft. Stockton which is around 8 hours from Houston. From Ft Stockton to New Mexico is around 5 hours.The journey was subtle and pleasant. Certainly New mexico is the land of enchantment.
The tour started with Ruidoso Town which was a calm city on a hilltop. The major attraction was the Grindstone Stables .This was an amazing experience for all of us. I never did a horseback ride before. Here, I got a wonderful chance to ride a horse through the trail, near the lake and wat more!! We went 600 ft above the ranch on our horses. We were accompanied by cowgirls who were natives of Arizona .The horses were very friendly and well trained. Horse ride will cost you 35$ for an hour.But it was really worth it.
From Grindstone Stables, we headed to Cornerstone bakery for a sumptuous brunch. It is a beautiful country side, where you get authentic english tex-mex brunch. We thoroughly enjoyed the food here with egg scrambles, bacon bits, spinach broccoli soup, biscuits with country sauce & sandwiches.
After the brunch, we had decided to visit Ski Apache - on the slopes of Sierra Blanca( 45 minutes, 25 miles uphill). Ski Apache is famous for its Gondola ride, ziplining & Skiing activities in winter..Gondola ride is a tramway which takes you up the mountain, the elevation is around 11,00ft.
From Ski Apache, we stopped over for Lunch at Great wall of China. This was a chinese restaurant with authentic Chinese food & amazing hospitality.
Our next destination was White Sands. This national site kept on coming up again and again in recommendations of things to do in New Mexico. And hence the whole plan came up.
When you enter the park, you can start to see some white sand building up on the edges of the road . However the deeper you go, the more pure the sand becomes and you encounter towering, bright white sand dunes. I would highly recommend bringing sunglasses & applying a huge layer of sunscreen, you will definitely appreciate them.This place is incredible. No words!! This is truly a marvel of Nature. It is really impressive! It's so hard to describe but it's a very surreal and novel place to see.
We were spellbound by the amazing sunset experience & could not stop filming some romantic portraits. This is something which is never to be missed. The dunes turn shades of blue and pink under the setting sun.
Things you can do in White Sands:
- Climb the sand dunes.
- Take a free evening sunset tour with the guides. This a one hour sunset guided tour which takes you through the park, gives you information on various fauna and flora, & reaches a point where Sunset can be viewed beautifully. This is called the sunset stroll.
- Camp in the park
- Give lots of work to your DSLR- This is totally worth it.
US has numerous national parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon which are heard more often and I felt White Sands National Monument is something which is less heard of. Needless to say, out of my travel experience I felt this is a unique destination for all of us to visit & ponder about later.
Our decision to choose the "road less travelled" will be considered as one of the most treasured journeys of all time.
Facts about white sands :
White Sands lies in the Tularosa Basin in the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico. It’s made up of 275 square miles of gypsum sand dunes – in fact, it’s the largest gypsum dune field in the world. The dunes were formed after the evaporation of an ancient sea and survive because of little rainfall and no way for water to flow out of the basin and take/dissolve the gypsum with it.
Also since White Sands National Monument is very close to the Mexico border, it will be advisable to "CARRY YOUR PASSPORTS WITH VALID VISA" as they usually check at checkpoints.