White Sands National Monument

After two weeks near Carlsbad, NM, we hitched up and drove west, further into New Mexico towards White Sands National Monument.  The drive from Carlsbad to Alamogordo was stunning. We started in the desert with miles of open road and the further west we traveled, the more mountainous the drive became. 


We crossed through the Sacramento Mountains and into the town of Alamogordo. Our boondocking location for the week was Lake Holloman which is part of Holloman Air Force Base just outside Alamogordo.  I have no idea why they allow civilians to camp around the lake for free but it's only 5 minutes from White Sands so it's a super convenient, free dry-camping site. The area was a little crowded when we arrived and we realized it was President's Day weekend which may account for the number of families around. We found a nice space away from the people camped next to the lake and enjoyed some of the most amazing sunsets we've ever seen.

The next day, we woke early and drove to White Sands National Monument. White Sands is not actually sand- it's gypsum, the largest gypsum dune on earth. One of the amazing things about gypsum is it doesn't get scalding hot in the sun like sand. You can walk around barefoot at White Sands even in the heat of the day (I looked this up because I wanted to make sure Jane's paws would be comfortable). 

We walked the Backcountry Camping Trail. The day was super windy and we had to pay careful attention to the trail markers because our footprints would blow away within seconds. Without the trail markers in sight we could have easily gotten lost.  We stayed for about two hours and would have stayed longer but the wind was strong and poor Jane had gypsum stuck all over her face.

Visiting White Sands was the last planned place we wanted to stop before turning around and heading east towards Tennessee to begin our spring/summer workamping job. It was a great way to say goodbye to the desert before heading towards the Appalachian Mountains.