White Sands

24 Feb


Judy Wills


Have you ever had the opportunity to “play” in a sand dune?  I remember outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I grew up, were some great sand dunes, and we used to drive there and just spend time romping through the dunes. It was great fun!

However, I remember once when I was working in a multi-storied building downtown that we were able to watch a huge sandstorm blowing from the east into town.  It was blowing a lot of that sand from the dunes – and it was a rather frightening thing to see.

Each of our 50 United States has a state motto. New Mexico’s motto is: The Land of Enchantment.  And then, when you are out in a sand storm, you must be careful not to get any of that “enchantment” in your eyes!



Perhaps you’ve heard of White Sands, New Mexico? It’s a U.S. National Monument (part of the U.S. National Park Service), and is located between Las Cruces and Alamogordo, in central-southern New Mexico.  It was established as a National Monument in 1933.  It’s also near Holloman AFB.


Credit Google Search and National Park Service


On March 30, 1982, the space shuttle Columbia landed at the White Sands Missile Range, after being diverted from Edwards AFB in California.  Bad weather at Edwards had made the landing strip there too wet to handle the weight of the shuttle.


Space Shuttle Columbia landing at White Sands Missile Range, 1982

Credit Google Search and NASA website

According to Wikipedia:   Its white sands are not composed of quartz, like most desert sands, but of gypsum and calcium sulfate. Unlike other desert sands, it is cool to the touch, due to the high rate of evaporation of surface moisture and the fact that the sands reflect, rather than absorb, the sun’s rays. At 1185 meters [3888 feet] above sea level, there are approximately 442 square kilometers [162 square miles]of dune fields and is known to be the world’s largest surface deposit of gypsum.


Do you know the difference between a National Park and a National Monument?  I didn’t for a long time.  Here is an explanation I found online:

According to the National Park Service, “a national park is intended to preserve at least one nationally significant resource, whereas a national monument is usually larger and preserves a variety of nationally significant resources.”


If you have ever walked on a “beach” with the brown sand that is associated with beaches everywhere (except Panama City, Florida, whose beaches are white sand), you will remember you had to walk really fast – because the sand was so hot!  Not so with the sands at White Sands National Park.

I remember going with family to White Sands several times in my life.  Here are some pictures I have of the park, I’ve marked the ones I purchased.  The others are of my family.


Purchased slide – Battle for vegetation

Purchased slide

Purchased slide

My Granny and her sister – 1959

My Granny holding their dog, Trixie,

Granny’s sister and her husband,

a friend of the family

Granny and Trixie, inspecting the sand


This picture on the website caught my attention. The write-up stated:  Moonlight hikes and sunset tours are available throughout the year from the visitor center, so visitors can get a whole new perspective as the light changes.


Credit Google Search and White Sands website


If you are ever in that area, be sure and give the White Sands National Monument a visit.  It is well worth the time to get THAT sand in your shoes!!



JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

2 Responses to “White Sands”

  1. Onisha Ellis February 28, 2019 at 9:38 pm #

    Great pictures! Now I wish we had visited White Sands while we were traveling.


  2. divoran09 February 24, 2019 at 3:13 pm #

    Good research and writing


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