"Look Cap! Do you see the white sand dune at the top of the monument?"
"No Patti! I completely missed it."
We have arrived at Part 2 of this 2 part Post.
What you have seen in Part 1 (Silly me! I am assuming that you actually looked at Part 1 of 2!) took place entirely on Wednesday, April the 19th, 2017.
What you are going to see below in this Part 2 of 2 took place Friday evening and Saturday morning, April 21st and 22nd, 2017.
This will explain the differing light-conditions in the photos. Some were taken in the late evening and others were taken in the early morning.
And while we are here, IF you ever go to White Sands, and IF you are only going to make one visit, and IF you are able to pick and / or choose your time-of-day to visit White Sands ..
Patti and I STRONGLY SUGGEST that you visit White Sands in the early morning.
1. It is cooler in the early morning.
2. The sun (rising in the Eastern skies) will be at-your-back.
This is the perfect scenario for shooting photos. If you go (as we did on one of our three visits) in the evening, you are shooting photos into the setting sun.
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Below you are going to see White Sands National Monument after you have left the Visitor's Center and you have passed through the formal entrance (where you pay and / or show your ID and National Parks membership card).
When you turn off US Highway 70 and onto the White Sands entrance road, you immediately have two choices.
You can opt to turn right and drive about 100-feet into the Visitor's Center area.
Or, you can opt to drive straight ahead and proceed into the Dune Area of the National Monument.
In the above photo, if you look carefully to the right of the sign, in the far distance, is the formal park entry that you see below.
To some degree, exploring what is but a very small piece of an immense area, White Sands is very limited in its availability to its visitors.
You can clearly see this in the below photo.
What you have is an 8-mile (one way) road available for you to explore White Sands. At the far end of your road you can see a loop. This is called The Loop Road.
Before I get to photos of White Sands, I want to point out what you will soon see.
Much, perhaps most, of what you see will be white sand covered with vegetation. IF you get out of your vehicle, and IF you climb up a dune, then and only then, will you get to see the vast expanses of white sand.
I personally was expecting to see Lake-Michigan-sized, gigantic and enormous sand dunes. This is not-the-case here at White Sands. The winds keep the dunes lower and flatter and much more spread-out.
FRIDAY, APRIL THE 21st, 2017
Late afternoon into the evening.
Into the Dune Area we now go.
Nice try Captain. Close! BUT no cigar Captain. NO Captain! As beautiful as the Grand Canyon was and is, you're simply NOT going to sell it to your followers as White Sands.
"Will the below photos fly?"
"Much better Captain! Much MUCH better."
Into the Dune Area we now drive having just passed through the entrance station.
Notice, in the first photo below, we are driving on a hard, smooth, paved, blacktop road.
Our first sightings of the white sand dunes.
Very nice, smooth, paved road.
Whoa! Did I speak too soon? Pavement ends?
Below you can clearly see the end of the paved road.
When we hit the non-paved road I thought that each, and every single filling in my mouth, was going to be shaken loose! It was just terrible.
"Live with it!" / signed / The Road
Feast your eyes on the dunes.
Do you see what I mean about ample vegetation??
I was actually expecting nothing but white sand. Such is NOT the case at all.
What? No vegetation?
Being somewhat of a major important National Park, there are many very nice facilities for use by visitors.
There are NUMEROUS (far too many to count or to photograph) informational presentations.
Below you can see one of the beautiful picnic areas with its shelters for wind and sun protection.
Visitors arrive literally by-the-busload!
Visitors also arrive in their own individual vehicles.
The wind-patterns on the sand are fascinating.
I then step around the lovely and tender little plant below and can show just white sand.
As you can surmise by the late afternoon, warm alpine-glow of the setting-sun and its shadows, many of the above photos were taken during the early evening of Friday, April 21st, 2017.
Goodbye and good evening White Sands. We will see you tomorrow morning.
"Why Captain, why-oh-why don't you just stop here. No one would ever know the difference Captain. Call it a done-deal for White Sands Captain!"
"Wrong you are my mind. You and I would know that we 'gypped' our followers with a half-baked Post here."
SATURDAY MORNING, APRIL THE 22nd, 2017
During our visit to White Sands on Friday evening, I saw that in order to really see the dunes, one must park their vehicle and climb up and onto them. This is how we began our Saturday visit. Patti stayed in our truck during my first foray onto the dunes.
I was surprised at the dark coloring of this section of the dunes.
The wind-ripple patterns constantly differ.
The condition of the road was not consistent. As we drove awhile it became a Super Highway.
Another area where I did a little dune climbing.
Basically, that-is-that for overview photos of White Sands.
Below I will take you for a walk into the one special viewing area on the loop road.
This will be the Last Hurrah for White Sands.
THE INTER DUNE BOARDWALK
You have seen the above and below photos previously. Now we are physically at the location on the loop road that you see below.
"Patti I think that I will try to do this walk."
"Great idea Cap. I will wait here in the truck. Have a good walk."
As Patti proof-reads this Post, it will be the first time she has seen this walk up-close.
My walk was just about one full hour, give or take a few minutes each way.
The below photos give you an 'overview' of the walk itself.
As I set off on my walk, I had no idea of its length.
Below you see the very end of the INTERDUNE Boardwalk.
All along the walk, literally about every 50-feet, some on the right side of the walk, and some on the left side of the walk, were informative plaques.
Below is a photo of a very nice turnout and resting place on the boardwalk.
I believe that, at sunset and other times, Park Rangers give presentations here.
I will now finish this Post of White Sands with a series of photos that I snapped during my walk on the INTERDUNE Boardwalk.
What they show is simply this, there is a absolute plethora / overabundance of vegetation out on the dunes. This one fact was the great surprise for me as we got-to-know White Sands.
I will leave you with a few photos you have already seen that show what I expected to see exclusively when we visited White Sands.
Patti and Cap, signing off hoping that you all enjoyed our tour of White Sands National Monument.