Gypsum, missiles, pistachios, and caves

Gypsum

That is what White Sands National Monument is made of. Miles of large white dunes of broken down gypsum. To give you an idea it feels like that weird not sticky sand you may have seen at the store. The landscape is so very odd but pretty. I’d never seen rippled dunes of any sort, never mind white ones.

Missiles

We found a place to camp right outside White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base. We actually had to wait to enter the park, which is located in the missile range, due to missile testing! Part of what made this stop cool was watching fighter jets take off and drones fly overhead. We were near some body of water that smelled salt water marsh like, but it wasn’t bad enough to detract from the beautiful sunsets we enjoyed and the fact that it was FREE.

Pistachios!

In the nearby town of Alamogordo we found a couple pistachio farms. We got a great tour at the Heart of the Desert pistachio farm.

Carlsbad Caverns

We don’t own camera equipment that would do this justice so you really have to check this one out for yourselves. We started with the natural entrance, which is a paved trail that switchbacks down into the cavern about 3 miles. If that doesn’t sound fun to you there is an elevator that takes you to the main chamber called the Big Room. The scale of this place and the beauty of the formations are just so impressive.
Not quite satisfied with a paved public trail, and because the area is so filled with caving opportunities, we decided to go on the ranger guided Slaughter Canyon Cave tour. Here the only lights were the ones on our heads. The way was slick and ladders and ropes were required. This small taste of caving may have been enough for us for now, but it was great, and we’re so glad we did it.

On the cave tour we also met Richard a young traveler and tiny home owner. It was great to chat about life on the road.

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