White Sands

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We’re not too far from White Sands National Monument, so we headed over there to check it out.

White Sands is composed of gypsum sand. Not only is it white, but it much softer than the silicon sand we’re familiar with from beaches or the Great Sand Dunes. It feels almost like power. The sand comes from eroding selenite, the crystalline form of gypsum.

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Selenite crystals (in the visitor center)

Since gypsum is water-soluble, it is rare to find in it’s sand form, but the unique terrain around here allows for this awesome place to exist.

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Ripples in the sand

As always, even though it is essentially a desert, life exists here, trying to keep pace with the shifting sand.

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Life among the dunes

The wind forms the dunes into constantly changing forms,

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Interesting sand formations

which would quickly take over the roads if they weren’t kept cleared.

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Dunes by the road

One fun activity here is sledding down the dunes. Kathryn would have greatly enjoyed this, but she had a migraine hit on the way over. So we contented ourselves with driving around and just enjoying the beauty to be found here.

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Mountains in the distance
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