White Sands and Organ Mountains National Monuments

March 23rd, we left Oceanside, CA, to head to new Mexico and Texas for 6 weeks. Our first stop was Tucson, AZ, to get the RV serviced at Freedom for a few days. We decided to stay longer in Tucson at the Voyager RV Resort to play pickle ball and relax. Then on to Las Cruces, New Mexico, stayed at the Hacienda RV and Rally Resort, it is close to Old Town where we explored one day. Our first outing was to see the White Sands National Monument just north of Las Cruces in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. It’s known for its dramatic landscape of great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand that engulf 275 square miles of desert. We stopped to see the White Sands Visitor Center designed in Pueblo Revival style, built during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. We drove along Dunes Drive, a loop road to the Heart of the Sands to hike the Alkali Flat Trail, a 5 mile loop trail. What beautiful white sand, it is so fine you could slide down the dunes, and finer than beach sand. The whiteness of the sand in contrast to the brilliant blue sky looked surreal as we walked along the trail. Then we did the Dune Life Nature Trail, dotted with interpretive exhibits on plants and wildlife that live here. On the way back we stopped in at the White Sands Missile Range Museum and Trinity Site, the place where the first atomic bomb was tested in 1945, but we didn’t have ID to get inside the compound. When we returned to Las Cruces we stopped for a beer and a bite to eat at the Spotted Dog BreweryClick on thumbnail to view images

Click on thumbnail to view images

The next day we drove to the Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks National Monument to do some hiking. The Organ Mountains are a steep, angular mountain range with rocky spires that jut above the Chihuahuan Desert floor to an elevation of 9,000 feet. We hiked the Pine Tree Loop Trail where we had a view looking down across the Desert to the White Sands Missile Range. This picturesque trail was mostly open woodlands to ponderosa pines in the highest elevations. The pristine granite dome that we saw from the trail is Sugarloaf Peak, and it is unquestionably the most striking feature of the Organ Mountains, it is so strikingly different from the main group of Organ Mountain peaks with it’s white tooth-like formation. This monolith peak was the highlight of our hike and Bob was able to capture it’s beauty. Click on thumbnail to view images