There is always one place that pops to mind immediately when I think of anything related to New Mexico with the letter W – White Sands.
I have lots of wonderful memories of time spent at White Sands. I grew up a bit over an hour away and we would go once a year or so, it seems like. White Sands is a National Monument so it is run by the National Park Service. There is plenty to do and see in this large expanse of white sand.
White Sands is located in the southern part of the state, just outside of Alamogordo. The Tularosa Basin is where you find over 275 miles of pure white gypsum sand dunes. The National Monument preserves a portion of this. Much of it is also found as part of the White Sands Missile Range.
If you visit the monument, you can run around the dunes, playing in the sand, sliding down the hills, or jumping off the edge of the highest one you can find. Take a picnic lunch and enjoy the day. If the wind picks up or a rain storm starts coming in, you will probably want to leave since it is not fun to be sand blasted. 🙂 But it is amazing to watch a storm come in over the dunes. Beautiful.
There are some other things you can do – hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, or cycling. Check in with the Ranger Station to find out about all of that.
You might recognize White Sands Missile Range as the place where much missile and rocket tests have been done. Probably the best known of these is the Trinity Site. This is where the first atomic bomb was tested. This was done not quite 3 weeks before an atomic bomb was dropped on Japan during WWII. There is a visitor center at this site and the area is open to the public a couple of times each year.
The WSMR is also a place where many of the rockets designed by Werner Von Braun (the German scientist who had a large role in the space race) were tested. The German scientists were housed close to the Missile Range and they tested many of the V-2 and further advancements.
The White Sands Missile Range was used for many different tests for the military and defense purposes. I can remember many times needing to go to Las Cruces or Albuquerque. To do so from our house, we had to travel through parts of the missile range and we made sure to check on missile testing before we left because it was not unusual for the roads to be closed if there was testing going on.
The other place to visit this week is Wheeler Peak. This is the tallest peak in the state is found up north, close to Taos and Red River. This beautiful peak is found in the Carson National Forest and is open to the public for many different outdoor activities. This peak is at 13, 161 feet above sea level. There is quite a bit of wildlife that you can expect to see while hiking or backpacking in the area.
Named for the man who surveyed the area in the late 1800s, Wheeler Peak is lovely place and great outdoor area. Be sure to take a look at the weather before you head out because the area is in the northern part of the state. This means that you could easily encounter late season storms in the spring or early season storms in the fall. Winter means that you should expect snow to be there but there are winter sports that you can do.
You can also make the Enchanted Circle drive which includes Wheeler Peak. Loads of options for visiting this mountain.
Lori, At Home.
Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.
- Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
- Christine @ Life’s Special Necessities
- Kimberly @ Vintage Blue Suitcase
- Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag
- Wendy @ Life On Chickadee Lane
- Yvonne @ The Life We Build
- Jennifer @ A Peace Of Mind
- Kristen @ A Mom’s Quest To Teach
- Kirsten @ DoodleMom Homeschool
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