In White Sands
We wake up at sunrise in Aguirre campground, with a beautiful view on White Sands.
White Sands is famous for two reasons: the missile range and the actual white sand.
Let’s start with the latter. They’re the largest gypsum dunefiled in the world (710 km2). Gypsum desert are rare because this type of sand is water soluble and is usually carried out to the sea. The basin in which this dunefield is has to exit to the sea, the sand stays here, only the wind moves the dunes. A drive loop takes visitors in the center of the dunefield. It is white, wide and hot, another visit I’m glad to do in winter.
The national park is right in the middle of the military and research facility of White Sands. This missile range is a massive area stretching from the Trinity site (the site of the first ever atomic bomb) to the south border of the state. A lot happened here, from the atomic bomb, to missile tests and even space missions. To learn a bit more we visited the New Mexico space museum. At the front of it lies the first ever chimpanzee sent to space. ‘HAM’ was sent from here in 1961 and came back safe, proving that humans could go to space.