White Sands, New Mexico

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One of Pearson’s first memories is watching, live on TV, the Space Shuttle Columbia land at the White Sands Test Facility and he’s been enamored with White Sands, New Mexico ever since. So on our way out to California, we made a plan to stop and explore White Sands National Monument for a few days.

White Sands National MonumentAdjacent to the National Monument is the NASA Test Facility, an Army Missile Range, and Holloman Air Force Base, so the National Monument and Route 70, the road from Alamogordo to Las Cruces, is closed quite often. Unfortunately, a week before we arrived in White Sands an unmanned drone on some sort of training mission crashed in the National Monument and they closed the entire park until further notice.

On our drive west we kept hoping the National Monument would reopen, but on our first day in the area (eight days after the drone crash), it was still closed. So we took a hike in the Lincoln National Forest and drove high into the Sacramento Mountains, ascending above 9000ft, and looking down over White Sands.

View over White Sands National Monument

Overlooking White Sands

Lincoln National Forest New Mexico Sacramento Mountains New Mexico New Mexico Shack

Train Trestle

Mexican Canyon Trestle


The next day we planned to leave Alamogordo and drive about an hour west to Las Cruces, so it would be our last chance to explore White Sands. As we went to sleep I pulled my phone out to check one last time if White Sands National Monument had reopened. To our delight it was scheduled to reopen the next morning at 9am!

Sunset over white Sands, New Mexico

Sunset over White Sands from the Sacramento Mountains

Check back next week for our sledding and hiking (mis)adventures in White Sands National Monument.

White Sands National Monument New Mexico

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  1. By White Sands National Monument | Into Our Element on August 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    […] got to White Sands National Monument just after it reopened and drove through the park (parts of it were, and still are, closed from the drone […]

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