Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Sands of Time

A couple of pictures from last Monday's President's Day trip up to White Sands National Monument. Contrary to my pre-trip plan to contemplate the late president Hoover who set aside this monument for all to enjoy, I confess: I never once thought of Herbert Hoover during our entire visit there.

(Click to enlarge all photos.)

As we drove into the gypsum dunes, I was awed by scenes like these . I would stop and take a picture or two. Then, after recording each pristine scene, Sam and I would go out and trample all over it, for as we long ago learned it is our destiny, no - our duty like all good Americans - to track up the landscape and leave our footprints wherever we go, not just in New Mexico, but globally.

After a particularly arduous workout messing up the sand dune (in the background) with foot and paw prints, Mrs. Dada, Sam and I paused to picnic beneath one of the sheet metal shelters built as a source of the only shade to be found in White Sands. (Unless one spreads a blanket under the car to eat.)

The dunes, incredibly white and reflective, especially in the brutal sun of summer, make it possible to get an even tan all over one's body, i.e., armpits, bottom of one's nose, and inner thighs, by the solar rays reflected back up and off the sands. This makes the price of admission ($3.00) well worthwhile for those conscious of the cost of tanning lotions and salons for those normally "hard to reach places" (for the sun).

Sam and I atop a fast moving dune. (Photo by Mrs. Dada. Con-
trary to the photo's impression, Sam's tail is NOT cropped!)


Finally, one tidbit of information we learned: There are four types of sand dunes and the fastest among them is capable of moving 30 feet/year. Here, Sam and I stand (or, squat) atop one of the faster moving dunes. (Standing was a bit difficult because of the dune's disorienting forward motion.)

As we learned after descending from this one, the scars on the forward front of the dune were formed by tourists scurrying up its face to escape being buried beneath the encroaching sands. (The thought of slower, unsuspecting visitors who didn't make it in time being buried beneath Sam and I was particularly disturbing, as demonstrated by Sam's fascination with the interesting scents he was picking up at the dune's advancing base.)

But the continuous onward march of the dunes bodes badly for Alamogordo, NM, just a few miles eastward and in the direct path of White Sands. But that's actually not so disturbing if one thinks about it. After all, isn't that how each of us inevitably ends up - buried beneath the sands of time?

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8 comments:

eProf2 said...

Sure looks like you visited the moon. Nice car, too. If today's economy keeps going like it has been for the past three or four months, you won't be the only one talking about ol' Herbert Hoover and his role in the great depression. Move over Herb here comes Shrub who didn't even create a single national park or national monument for future generations to enjoy, such as White Sands.

D.K. Raed said...

Wonderful pix! It looks like snow! Here Sam is the invisible dog, save for his black spots & red halter.

D.K. Raed said...

the way you took the sheet metal picnic shelter pic, it looks like your car has grown a windsail ... which might not be a bad idea in futureworldwithoutoil. Patent it now!

dada said...

eprof: Yes, the White Sands landscape is lunaresque indeed. As for the little car, we've been extremely pleased. Billed at 40 mpg we actually achieved 39.25 over a 4,038 trip to Oregon...mostly at Interstate speeds of 70-75 mph. I always bill my current car as "the last car I'll ever buy"...and I'm thinking with the price of gas, upcoming spot shortages in a world of brownouts, one of these days that will prove correct.

deke: By jove, I think you may be on to something...a giant wing on the back of the car, making it a true hybrid. This time of year especially with all those great winds out of the west. Only problem there is, if we rely on the wind to get us around, I'm afraid we'll just keep going further and further eastward with no way to get home!

D.K. Raed said...

obviously you're not a sailor, dada. ever heard of tacking into the wind?

dada said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dada said...

Yes, in fact, as I wrote that last comment I thought about it, but have you ever seen how many straight roads there are? {grin}

D.K. Raed said...

I see the problem. Maybe something more along the lines of Mad Maxx might work better ... kind of a dune buggy with windsail ... who needs roads?