New Mexico is called the land of enchantment. Our first stop in New Mexico was White Sands National Monument. These stunning white sand dunes are a hidden gem in the Tularosa Basin. They lie in the Chihuahuan Desert and cover 275 square miles! In this desert there is a shallow water supply, animals and plants – all thriving. In fact, most animals and plants have adapted over time to be lighter color such as the Bleached Earless Lizard – able to reflect heat and hide in the sand. Animals & plants aren’t the only ones here, nearby is a US Military base, and the atomic bomb was first tested in this desert, just 100 miles North of the monument. This incredible place is breathtaking, and we were stoked to spend a night here.
Where We Stayed
We “splurged” on a RV camp resort nearby, Desert Paradise Mobile Home & RV Village. For $25, we were able to plug in, A/C on, and feel comfortable. The RV resort had a dog walk, nice clubhouse and fantastic showers for us to use.
What We Did
We had planned on being at the White Sands National Monument on October 5th for a full moon. During a full moon they have extended hours and a presentation. The presentation that night was about the Ice Age, and to our surprise there was quite a line to get into the theater. We opted to just enjoy the sunset and moon rising instead. After a quick trip to the Visitor Center we drove the 8 miles on hard sand to get into the major dune area. A lot of people come for full moons, and bring a party – BBQ, beer, sleds, etc. We had brought some snacks and lawn chairs unsure of what to expect. If we were to go again during a full moon, we would bring more of a spread. There are tons of dunes, so we found one that no one else was at and set up there. Sparky immediately loved the sand and happily dragged me up the dune. I am not sure why, but he LOVES sand. He loves to dig endlessly, put his nose in and run around like an idiot. While dragging me up, he pays no mind that I had tripped and fell, he just looks back at me like “Mom, hurry up, there is more sand up here!” While Steve got busy on sunset shots, Sparky and I played in the sand, running up and down the dunes and digging. People on the next dune were sledding, which Sparky enjoyed watching with a little bit of distrust and judgment. Shortly after sunset, we waited for the moon to rise, but with a cloudy sky, wasn’t sure how much of a full moon look we would get. We had read that during a full moon the sand reflects the light and its as clear as day, so we were hopeful we would get that experience. While we waited, about 100 miles away was a lightning storm and it gave us quite a show. When the moon finally arrived, we were disappointed that the clouds blocked it. After some waiting and seeing, we decided to pack up and head back to home. When we got back in the car, it should be no surprise that the clouds magically parted and we saw the “full moon effect” on the sand. It was cool.
We spent about 4 hours there, and would recommend it our friends and family to go. It is quite magnificent.