31. White Sands National Park (EN)
Mis à jour : 2 août 2020
Despite the constraints imposed by the Covid-19, the campsites still remained open. Therefore, since everything is rolling for the big Bertha, the adventure can continue! Even though campsites can be rustic at times, although they have all the necessary comforts, a Vanlifer has to stay true to the road. And since the trip does not seem to be penalized, we can leave for our next destination: White Sands National Park.
The drive to White Sands is certainly not the most festive drive, after all it is only a drive, but the landscapes around us do the trick and give us plenty of daydreams. Some give off a peaceful aura, others can have frightening shapes, it is also possible, in exceptional cases, that they make you want to stop for a few minutes to appreciate the beauty of nature.
While one might think that only large cities can enrich us with an unknown notion, each state has its hidden natural wealth! However, since we are at the Mexican border, the route has of course a roadblock and rigorous control. And believe me, it's not a European stop! No van, motorhome, mobile home, passes without its drivers being checked.
For fun we often repeat to ourselves, nothing to hide, nothing to fear! But honestly, it's never reassuring to come face to face with the police forces, especially the American ones. Either way, we arrive at White Sands with a smile on our face and eyes wide open at the unique backdrop that welcomes us. As its name suggests, the landscape is made up entirely of white sand, making it the largest gypsum desert in the world.
Besides the instagramers and influencers, the place also attracts many families. It’s surprising that a desert can appeal to this clientele, you might think. Well, the reason is quite simple. In addition to the hikes that will make you discover the desert, it is also possible to slide down the dunes by luges.
All you have to do is go to the ranger office and rent, or buy, the holy grail of sliding. I have to admit that I had some regrets thinking about the snowboards left in the storage, maybe for next time!
And while we were ready to take our sleds to relive the memories of our childhood, we see the couple with whom we were at the thermal baths the day before (30. Truth and Consequences)! Sledging is great, but with friends it's better! I admit that the feeling is still different from skiing, especially if you fall head first into the sand.
But hey, that's part of the game, the important thing is to enjoy the experience! Like a big child, you face the slope and you jump with that carefree attitude you forget as you get older.
After these few exhausting efforts, it's time to regain our strength and enjoy a good meal. To tell you the truth, the setting seems so surreal that the first few hours feel like living, literally, in a dream setting. But after two-three slaps in the face, we are well awake!
Perhaps, the place breathes new energy into us, but we decide to try an four miles trail; a record! And so our two lovers set off across the dunes, equipped with a simple gourd and some food, the journey seemed to foresee many adventures to constrain them. Fortunately, they were able to count on the talents of the young Dov, the scarlet-fur canine scout!
The trail we have chosen is called “Akali Flat Trail”, but is nowhere near as flat as the name suggests. In addition, we are apparently the only ones to have ventured into this course as the familiar silhouettes gradually disappear ...
We are now in the middle of the desert, a vast white blanket under our feet and a blue one above our heads. At such times, I strongly advise you to avoid making any connections with films with tragic plots, your mental survival is at stake!
Another funny detail during the hike is the difficulty of finding the markers. Also, the sun is merciless and the gourd empties quickly, enough to risk a sunstroke. It is true that getting lost is one of our signatures, but this time we prefer to play it safe and conclude our journey.
After two hours of walking, we decide to turn back and get back to the van. You have to admit defeat, at least in some cases!
Of course, two hours one way means two hours the other. We therefore find the big Bertha after almost five hours! In any case, White Sands is a stopover to remember if you are crossing New Mexico. Now, we still have to reach the campsite which is about two hours away, we can't wait for our nap!
Blog dedicated to the Ghos family