A co-worker and I were once crossing southern New Mexico when we saw White Sands National Monument nearby. We were ahead of schedule so we decided to stop for a quick break. When we entered the park it was flooded so we only got to see a tiny portion of the park. Apparently, flooding is pretty rare in southern New Mexico. I had always wanted to come back and see White Sands. On the way from San Antonio to Tucson, we decided to explore the Las Cruces area which includes White Sands.
If you visit the National Park service’s website about things to do in White Sands they make it sound like there are days worth of adventures waiting for you. I’m sure there are. But not on this trip with our young family. We decided to drive through and see what we could see in about three hours. We walked along several raised boardwalks and read the signs that talk about the desert wildlife. We drove around and enjoyed seeing the alien landscape.
But, our absolute favorite thing to do here was sliding down the sand dunes on a snow sled. Yes, you read that right. At the visitor’s center, they sell snow sleds which you can take to the back part of the monument and slide down the dunes. Maybe we were missing the point. Maybe that day we didn’t do so well instilling a sense of nature into our children’s young minds… but hey! Sometimes you gotta have some fun.
At the visitor’s center, they sell wax (like surfboard wax) that you can coat the underside of your snow sled to help it reduce friction against the sand. I wish we had gotten a bar of that.
We had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, did our best to not get sunburned and had to drag our children away from the sand that evening. They loved it.
So, when you visit, I’m sure you’ll hike, bike, enjoy nature, take a native plant tour, participate in the Jr Ranger Program, …. but as for the Wesley’s, you’ll find us sliding down the dunes.
Note, there are only special parts of the dunes that allow sledding. They’ll give you the information you need when you buy your sled.