This was a place I had only seen pictures of, but always wanted to visit. As luck would have it, it was on the way to my new job! Ideally it would have been best to photograph at dawn or dusk to catch the details in the dunes, but I was passing through at high noon, so I just did the best I could.
I thought this was interesting. The dunes are in constant movement & pay no heed to roads & such. This guy's job is to grade the roads & push back the dunes, so that visitors like me can get through!
While I've seen sand dunes before... I have never in my life seen them so white! The sand is made up of the mineral gypsum, but is rarely found as sand because it is soluble in water.
Rivers would usually carry the dissolved gypsum to the sea but there is no river that drains the Tularosa Basin, so the water, gypsum & and other sediments are trapped... forming the beautiful white sands we see today.
I hiked out in the dunes for about a half an hour... but that was about all I could take. Though it was only 90 degrees, the intense reflection off the white sand made me feel like I was in the worlds largest solar cooker & I was drenched in sweat when I got back to my car!
Plus, this is not a place you'd want to get lost!! There is no shade whatsoever...and I kept thinking of the story of how Death Valley (Calif.) got it's name.
This is the picnic area, where I did in fact picnic. It looks like another world, doesn't it?! I love the design... it reminds me of a sculptural installation.
This sign cracked me up (click to enlarge & read)! In all seriousness, though, I can see how one could get turned around & lose their sense of direction in this place!