2006 White Sands
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We have visited White Sands National Monument, about an hour east of Las Cruces, every year that we have been in New Mexico.  I myself have been there eight times in the last seven years, and I never get tired of it.  The other-worldly beauty and quietude simply can't be described. 

One of the pleasures of a visit is that there is no restriction as to where you can walk and hike.  So we like to find a particularly steep sand dune and then jump off of it.  Yes, I know, the sophistication that this behavior represents when we are surrounded by so much we could learn about White Sands geography, geology, flora, and fauna is truly astonishing.  We are, after all, university students and faculty, and our natural intellectual curiosity overwhelms us.


The front cover of the brochure you are handed as you pay your fee and enter the park.


We like to arrive around 6 or 6:30 p.m. so we have time to eat a dinner of Subway sandwiches and then, on full stomachs, go and jump off of sand dunes until the sun sets about 7:30 or until we throw up, whichever comes first.

Note the lack of other people around.  It has always been like this when we visit.  Whether it's because of the time of day, the relatively isolation of the monument, the fact that we're kind of scary looking, or a combination all three, we don't know.  It's just all the more quiet.

I could put lots of pictures on here of people jumping, but they all look about like this.
Bob is caught in the air with the sun setting behind him.
Jeff doing a flip.  If this chemical engineering thing doesn't work out, there's always Ringling Brothers.
The entire gang in one place.
Ohioans looking out of place.
The sun, about to set, peeks through an opening in the clouds.  This year the conditions were not particularly good for seeing the sun set, but the scenery was still just as spectacular as ever.
Required stop for frozen custard at Scoopy's/Caliche's afterwards.  In this reporter's opinion, no outing is complete without such a stop.