New State....New Mexico
The next stop was Alamogordo where we visited White Sands National Monument. The park is 275 sq. miles of white gypsum sand dunes. This was an opportunity to hike on the sand that feels like icing sugar.
The roads are ploughed because winds can blow and cover the surfaces. At one point Don was driving and when he braked he forgot it wasn't snow.
The Alkali Flat Trail was a 7.4 km. loop with a view of White Sands Missile Range in the distance. Occasionally the Park has to close when they are testing experimental weapons and space technology.
Alamogordo also boasts the New Mexico Museum of Space History. We toured the faciliity which was an educational experience of space travel in the past and future exploration. We did find Marc Garnieau's picture hanging in the Space Hall of Fame. www.nmspacemuseum.org
We camped at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park and hiked up Dog Canyon Trail in the Sacramento Mountains. From the top we had a great view of the Tularosa Basin including White Sands National Monument.
The next day we visited Three Rivers Petroglyph Site which has over 21,000 petroglyphs left by the Jornada Mogollon natives over 700 years ago.
We travelled on to camp at The Malpais - Valley of Fires Recreation Area. It is the site of an ancient Indian legend that the "malpi" country was once a "valley of fire". This is true because the black lava covers 125 sq. miles and is more than 160 ft. deep at the
centre. A great paved nature trail gave us opportunity to explore. However, we have learned that weather in this area can change quickly. While hiking we were snowed upon and an hour later the sun was beating down and providing a wonderful warmth.
Off to Albuquerque tomorrow.