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When we were staying near Alamagordo, New Mexico for a few days, we visited a really awesome place called White Sands National Park. The landscapes were surreal and as we walked through the gypsum fields; we couldn’t help but think the ocean was just over the next dune. All that seemed to be missing were the seagulls and a salt spray.

There’re no oceans anywhere near White Sands, just 275 square miles of open desert that is the biggest gypsum dunefield in the world. At one point, long ago, it used to be an ocean. And the sand is not actually sand, it’s gypsum. The place is stunning. We went in the early afternoon and as the sun started to fade, the lighting gave us a whole new perspective on the park. There’re many hiking trails to explore the many dunes and we imagined that a great time to visit the park would be at sunrise or sunset. They have moon walks as well, which I imagine would be really cool to do.

The park is home to more than 800 different animal species. We didn’t see any wildlife the day we were there but species from all groups of the animal kingdom call the park home.

While at White Sands, Griffin was remembering the times he went to The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado. He was comparing the two parks and said, “The Great Sand Dunes are much taller and seem much bigger, more like mountains compared to White Sands. It takes a long time and a ton of effort to reach the top of one of the dunes at the Great Sand Dunes.”

White Sands National Park has a magic all its own and it’s a great place to visit if you’re in the southern New Mexico area. You’ll enjoy the ripples and waves in the sands as well as how the sunlight dances among the dunes. Enjoy miles of hiking or just sit in the sand and relax. Just don’t expect to find the ocean over the next dune.

—Steve Johnson

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