Friday, July 30, 2010

Road Photo Friday: Nogal Peak and White Sands

The Scampwalker clan -- including the three pooches -- made the 14-hour trek to New Mexico for a week of fun with family. It was a terrific trip to the Land of Enchantment, and one that included plenty of time in the great outdoors.

An impromptu hike led us to the top of Nogal Peak, one of the higher points in south central New Mexico.

The views were stunning from 10,000 feet, and well worth the steep climb. And the photos really don't do it justice.  That's Mrs. Scampwalker and her dad admiring the view several hundred feet below us.

We weren't the only folks on Nogal Peak enjoying the view. My father-in-law pointed out the masses of ladybugs congregating on this unknown plant.

That evening, we visited White Sands National Monument. It's about the most appropriately-named place on earth -- 275 square miles of pure, white gypsum sand dunes.

Winds move the dunes more than 30 feet a year. But a few plants, like soaptree yucca, manage to survive by growing a foot a year, just to keep its flowers and leaves above the sand. Many plants grow 30 feet tall or more -- but you'd never know it, most has been claimed by the shifting sand.

Of course, White Sands is also home to an active missile testing range. And then there's the Trinity Site, where they detonated the first atomic bomb and changed the course of human history. Quiet nature and beauty, juxtaposed with manmade power and fury -- but equally desolate in both ways.

But enough of the waxing philosophic. The kids were there to sled the dunes -- some probably close to 40 feet tall. My son knows no fear.

During the summer months, the park is open late on full moon nights. You can easily see several hundred yards with nothing more than the glow of the moon. Surreal, to say the least.

No comments:

Post a Comment