Hiking The White Sands

Page Type
Trip Report
New Mexico, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
May 18, 2006
Hiking, Scrambling
1891 Hits
73.06% Score
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Hiking The White Sands
Created On: Jan 30, 2007
Last Edited On: Jan 30, 2007

A Half Day Experience

Upon arrival, the towering white sand dunes had us standing in awe. These massive dunes were completely white with steep sides and smooth curvey features. Almost orgasmic! Upon our 8 A.M. arrival, we quickly raced to the information center located around the south-eastern side. The roads and parking areas had a layer of sand. We found out that the winds blow the sand more than 2 feet a day. Not only that but trail markers have to be uncovered or new ones bolted down due to the rapid dune movement.
White Sands

Inside the information center/gift store, we had heard a rumour about renting plastic sleds to carry during a hike to "easily descend" some of the larger peaks. When asked, the manager quickly escorted Zac and I to the back for sled selection. They were only $4.00 to rent. Each disk was round and smooth on the bottom with relatively miniscual scratches. I'm sure you could see my eyes glisten with excitement when I picked out my sled.

According to the ranger, our largest concern was making sure we could always see the next trail marker because it was apparently very easy to get lost. Taking the southern-western route, Zac and I marched right through the dune valleys until reaching the first peak. Not satisfied with our view we searched around until we found the closest and tallest peak. After exasperating ourselves with waxing the sleds and finding the quickest way to descend the peaks (laying on your stomach was the best) we finally rested for a bit and enjoyed the enchanting view of hundreds of white sand dunes.
Having read about a large U.S. Air Force Base we noticed some stealth bombers over head that speared through the sky with unbelievable speed and soundlessness. Finding a trail marker was infact pretty easy because we always saw two or three markers to our right across the large circular trail.
White Sands

Overall, the hike only took 4 to 5 hours. The most frustrating discovery about the trail was that for every step you took, you lost a half step in the sand. However, with the right angle we were able to sled across long peak, down steep slopes or around massive and towering peaks. We were lucky to bring some snack food, several gallons of water and extra shirts to cover our heads. Temperatures were around 100 degrees at the latter part of the morning. We left the area around 1 P.M.
White Sands


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