The White Sands National Monument, 275 square miles of gypsum white sand dunes, is located in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin. It is the largest gypsum dune field in the world.
Unlike dunes made of quartz-based sand crystals, the gypsum does not convert the sun’s energy into heat so the sand can be walked on with bare feet, even in the heat of summer
The park is located within the White Sands Missile Range and because tests occur about twice weekly, the dunes are often closed off to the public for a few hours at a time.
The Trinity Site, where the first atom bomb was detonated, is here.
In 2008 White Sands was put before the World Heritage Sites committee but New Mexico legislators have kept it in limbo, not wanting to forgo the military funding, I suppose.
The gorgeous weather we are having after a long winter, means it’s time to get outside and here in New Mexico we are blessed with so much natural beauty, including these magical dunes, sans the sea, out in the middle of nowhere.
Photographs by Bill Curry