Otherworldly

I went to another planet over the weekend.

That wee little dot is "camp"...

And no, that is not snow. Its sand. White sand.

In the middle of nowhere in southern New Mexico. (After double checking that it wasn’t a missile launch testing day, of course…)

I finally took a trip south to see some of the state I have been calling home for many years now.

For some reason I am always going north…

Backpacking Lake Katherine, Northern New Mexico

But finally, this time I pointed the Baja south.

I hiked into the furthest “backcountry camping” site that they allowed in White Sands National Monument after driving south through the state and having lunch in Truth or Consequences, NM.

Little Sprout. If EVER anywhere near T or C, eat there.

Anyhoo…

Conquering the climb in my underoos.

The hike in was only a little over a mile. I felt silly calling it backpacking after the trips I have taken in the past.

Yet…

As the day and then evening wore on, there was this increasing feeling of being in another world. Everywhere you look, from the top of any dune, all you see is more white dunes. It is absolutely like nothing else. There were dunes on the Oregon coast back home that I would visit as a child, nothing this strangely remote.

I can see how very easily an everyday Joe could get lost hiking more than this mile out. Half of the signs were down on the hike in, fallen over as the sand beneath them was blown away from the wind and a few others had been nearly covered by shifting sand piling up around them. (My tent on one side in the morning was missing the sand beneath it too, so this happens quickly.)

Then there are distant mountains in every direction too, making you feel boxed it. But, even those seems days away.

Holding Parker Jade, the adventurist dog.

At the bottom of the dunes, little tufts of grasses are trying to survive and besides that, there is no life in this desert.

The temperatures during the day were very hot, especially coming off all that pure white sand. Then, dramatically, as soon as the sun began to go down, the temps plummeted with it and I was scrambling to put on my clothes again.

…since I had been laying out int the hot sun reading and sledding down the dunes in my underwear during the afternoon.

Wee weee weeeeeeeeeeeee!

…and picking sand out of my crack! Ha!

Crack kills.

All in all it was quite an experience and a fun, exhausting weekend.

It did leave me with some thoughts and things to ponder though that I will rant about soon…

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