White Sands National Monument is located approximately 30 miles west of Alamogordo off Arizona Highway 70. We learned about it by accident and based on the brochure, the place looked so amazing that it was too good to pass.
Surrounded by mountains, White Sands National Monument encompasses 275 square miles of desert and what looks like snow is actually made of great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand.
We drove on the White Sand Loop to take in the grandeur of this natural wonder. The white sand is powder-like and even though we limited our exposure to two stops, J.J. and I still tracked lots of sands inside Honu which had to be brushed off.
We saw a family with two small boys ready to "sand-slide" using plastic sleighs. During the short time we watched, the boys climbed up the dune several times for a ride lasting a few seconds. The younger of the two fell down mercilessly his face digging into the sand. The two boys will be very tired by late afternoon.
From Alamogordo, we took Highway 82 to Artesia entering Lincoln National Forest. At a summit of 8,950 ft. elevation, the air was cooler and we drove through pine forests and alpine villages.
Tonight we are staying at Brantley Lake State Park, approximately 16 miles from Carlsbad. This is our first state park in New Mexico and we love it. There are a lots of cotton tail rabbits hopping around the park. J.J. was adding DEF (Diesel Efficiency Fuel) to Honu and two rabbits came by, looked at him and hopped under Honu for warmth for the night. It's good thing that we plan to stay just for one night. Otherwise they might decide to make a home under Honu.