Oliver Lee State Park / White Sands NP, NM

Trip Start Mar 26, 2006
Trip End Oct 20, 2006

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Where I stayed
Oliver Lee State Park campground

Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Thursday, April 6, 2006

White Sands is an otherworldly expanse of never-ending, glistening white dunes. Because they grow and move, the dunes quickly overtake the park roads and the park service has to plow them of the road in big heaps that look like piles of snow.

We got a kick out of the ultra-retro picnic areas that look like 1950's chic way stations on the surface of the moon, and I kept expecting George Jetson to purr by in his floating car.

We walked far enough out into the dunes that it felt safe to enjoy a few minutes of sunbathing au natural. (No worries - no pics posted of this!) Makes you wonder how often the rangers here come across nude people? It's just so darn hot here you can't help yourself - and it's not even summer yet!

Anyway, the dunes were fun for a morning.

Todd spent the rest of the afternoon napping in "the sweat lodge", our new term of endearment for our beloved tent, which really gets cooking in the afternoon sun, and I finished my book.

Rattlesnake!!! At the Oliver Lee State Park campground, Ranger Todd returned from a little walk looking excited and slightly unnerved and quickly took me back to where he had discovered a black tipped rattlesnake. There it was, curled up asleep, right beneath a wooden stairway that's part of the riparian nature walk. For anyone who has ever had that dreaded feeling when walking up a flight of steps that something might grab your ankle - this is the perfect real life setup. Suddenly all of my carefree off-trail cavorting through the Chihuahuan Desert over the past week seemed a bit naive.

I was more careful today (though still off-trail - only because they recommend it) when we visited Three Rivers Petroglyph Site where we saw a few of the more than 20,000 petroglyphs that were chipped into the rocks here by the Jornada Mogollon Native Americans who lived here until the 1400's. No snakes, but we did enjoy the artwork.

After a quick but tasty dinner of green chili-smothered chicken enchiladas at Garcia's Cafe, we settled into an inexpensive hotel along historic Route 66 in Albuquerque, where we'll do more exploring tomorrow.

It's been great to hear from you - thanks for all your letters of encouragement. We're having a great time and hope you are, too!
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abc on

interestingly enough I've heard they actually do catch naked people from time to time at White Sands.

csimpson on

Not too surprising. It's HOT there!

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