Our recent visit to Big Bend National Park was a completely new adventure for me but there was another place I was also looking forward to seeing. This time it was for a return visit to White Sands in New Mexico.
Even though it's nice to see friends and socialize along our travels, I'm really an introvert at heart and I do my recharging in my own space. When I visit places like White Sands, I get exactly what I need: solitude and magnificent views.
Last time I was there, I almost got lost. I kept walking and walking deeper into the dunes and not keeping track of my movements. Before I knew it, I was completely disoriented. Luckily, there was a cell signal so I was able to navigate my way back to my car using my phone GPS. Whew!
Since then, I've been using an app for my iPhone called "Where's My Car?". It's perfect for people who are directionally-challenged like myself. When I get out of my car, I launch the app and it creates a pin of where I am. I can then use it later to find my parking spot. It gives a live readout of how far away I am and what direction I need to go. It has really worked well for me and I used it each time I trekked out across the dunes
To really embrace this sandy landscape, you have to be conscious of how the angle of the sun affects its mood. When the clouds roll in, the desert looks looks like one long continuous blob of white. When the sun appears, it transforms the space into long shadows, three-dimensional hills of pure white sand and reveals intricate patterns created by the wind.
During our entire time there, I found myself chasing the light. Most of the time it was cloud covered with only tiny glimpses of the sun. We stayed at the Elks Lodge in Alamogordo which is less than half an hour to the entrance of White Sands and , because we were so close, I was able to keep an eye on the weather and be there for sunrises and sunsets.
As beautiful as the dunes can be in color, I found myself drawn mostly to a black and white interpretation because to me, White Sands is all about form, light and texture. These are the perfect ingredients for black and white photography. There are always exceptions, of course, and those occurred mainly during the sunrise and sunset when color just exploded in the sky.
It's hard for me to focus on any kind of "real life" thing when I'm in Alamogordo. I'm kind of obsessed with the sky, watching the sun, watching the clouds. Planning to go or not go...will there be a dramatic sunset or not?? Mostly I just went and whatever the weather, being there was just magical anyway.
During our stay, we also took a trip to Ruidoso where we used to co-own a house with Linda’s parents. We’d spend the Christmas holidays there with family every year. It's always fun to revisit and see what's different and what's the same. Mostly very little changes.
We both love New Mexico and especially this little corner of the state. There's just something special about being there. Maybe it's White Sands, maybe it's the culture, particularly the Mexican influence. Whatever it is, we keep coming back and we are never disappointed.
Up next: Meeting up with friends in Arizona