White Sands and lots of birds

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Click for White sands slideshowWe left the site to head to our next destination. Along the way we had already planned on stopping at White Sands to have a look around. It’s pretty odd looking at the massive amount of white that looks like snow, but is actually gypsum sand. We were far enough away from other people that we let our dog run a little bit loose. I wouldn’t do this if I were anywhere near anyone else, but she really was being exceptionally good and we needed to give her an opportunity to burn off some of her energy. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The drive over was very nice, and I actually got to see some of the stuff I missed during our drive from home because it was too dark. Of course the drive includes some pretty tight turns, but nothing earth shattering that would prevent most RV’s from making the trek. The most problems you may encounter would be a squeamish passenger. We passed through the town of Cloudcroft, and headed down the mountain. It’s a really pretty drive so long as you have the nerves for it. If not, it’s a much longer drive the other way. It isn’t really all that bad, but the curves can work on your driving arms. I enjoyed the drive. After we came down, we headed out to White Sands.

One thing I recommend is getting the National Parks “America the Beautiful” yearly pass. You can pick it up at any National Park ranger station for around $100. If you do a lot of traveling, it is well worth the expense. Most places where you see the “Fee Area” are open to you without having to pay extra. White Sands is one of those. We just pulled up and go through. They may make you sign in to say you’ve been there, but it’s just a small stop, and no money needed.

The road looks like you’re driving on snow. And if you just posted the picture without caption someone might think you were in massive snow drifts. But it’s actually gypsum sand. It’s crystal, and unlike regular sand it seems to not be as pervasive nor does it seem to stick as bad as regular sand. Though we weren’t supposed to collect sand, we ended up doing so by the nature of… well… sand. Tires kicked it up onto the 5th wheel landing gear pads, and we had enough to put in an old perfume bottle.

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More pictures here

 I had hoped to get to our camp site before dark, but as is standard with life, and the fact that it’s winter and the sun sets at seemingly just after noon, we showed up a little after dark and couldn’t see the site in the daylight. I’m not mad. Honestly, I’m used to it. But man it would be nice to not have to use a flashlight to hook everything up. I got all set up and we were fortunate enough to be able to tell that the spot was a good one. We stayed here only for a couple nights because we had a specific goal for the next day.

The next day we went to the Bosque del Apache Bird sanctuary. I cannot stress enough that pictures simply do not capture the experience of being out there. No amount of pictures or video would prepare you for the awe of watching thousands of birds in flight and on the ground. It will simply rip the breath from your lungs kicking and screaming. We got there just after the guest office closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, so we couldn’t get the audio tour. Fortunately the audio tour can be found online at the Friends of the Bosque website. And we were able to download and listen to it as we drove through the park.

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Again, more pictures here. Though honestly, the pictures barely tell the story.

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