The White Sands National Monument – world’s largest gypsum sand dune field.
“Like no else place on Earth…..Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world’s great natural wonders – the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Here, great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert and created the world’s largest gypsum dune field…” (source: nps.gov)
Our first part of the trip – Flavors of New Mexico – Part 1.
After the Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe Mountains, and Cloudcroft, we came to Alamogordo, New Mexico. About 15 miles from the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico is this out of the world National Park, which will take your breath away.
Miles of undulating and folding dunes, with frequent signs of colorful life which has adapted to this magical but desolate place is a place not to be missed in this lifetime.
Vegetations include saltbrush, grass, yuccas, sand verbanas and some edible plants as well.
Below: A gypsum plant stand (gypsum mound, called a Pedestral) .These bushes growing on the mound are the red lemon berry bushes.
The lemon berries are edible. The Native Indians were known to mash these, mix them with water and make a summer cooler.
More edible plants. Rosemary Mint! The ranger showed us this innumerable bushes growing all over the park. We all got to chew on the refreshing leaves. They were so good! I think I am going to get us a plant for our home.
The sunset in the park is unforgettable experience. The dazzling glare fades, the shadows lengthen and the sand and the sky mingle taking on a red, orange and pink hue. The sun slowly goes down behind the San Andres mountains, leaving the among the sands a mysterious light and an ethereal stillness.
We absorbed it all. There was wading barefoot making footprints in the sand which would be gone a few minutes later. We slid down the dunes in snow sleds, and rolled down without one.We played and drank in the beauty at different times of the day. We also experienced the most beautiful dust storm among the dunes and came back with feet, and pockets and car full of sand. There were some Sand Angels too!
From the sands to the farm
Pistachio Farm near Alamogordo, New Mexico
Pistachios in a big bunch -
and even closer. They are usually harvested in September.
The world’s largest pistachio?
We were at the McGinn’s Pistachio Farm. They also have wineries and wine tasting.
They also have the sampling of pistachios in innumerable flavors.
We sampled some and got us some wines and nuts; Cherry wine and nuts in the assorted packs, mostly flavored in spicy Southwestern flavors; Red Chili, Garlic, Green Chili, Lemon Lime. They are irresistible.
All good things come to an end.
Finally on our way back … these are the craggy jagged Organ Mountains fringing on the eastern side of Las Cruces. Unlike the other mountains in this region, the organ mountains are formed from a volcanic eruption.
We cannot wait to go back and explore and enjoy the rest of New Mexico.
Note: Most of the photographs here are taken by Arjun. Visit White Sands National Monument (Flickr) for more pictures.