Isn’t it ironic how sometimes we achieve true
clarity when we’re in the middle of a crises of some sort?It’s almost like it takes a lot of
distraction for that which is real, is honest, to become clear.
On the day we visited
Cloudcroft, we took the backroad back home.
The air was clear and cool,
and the pine trees added a wonderful scent.
We found a lovely spot for a
picnic, too!So nice to sit on a log
that served as a rustic table!Miki
enjoyed not only the drive, but the picnic as well.After all, I packed a lunch for her, too!
View of White Sands
As we came down from higher up
the mountain, we saw this wonderful view of White Sands in the distance.I couldn’t help but think of how great it was
for the homes we passed – this is their view from the window!
One day, we decided to take a
drive up to the mountain town of Cloudcroft.It’s quite the charming town and worth some artistic renderings….
The downtown is really picture
perfect, and so I took an image of it and converted it to a crayon
drawing.People walked their dogs along
the street – they, too, part of the population, after all!
Along the Boardwalk
It’s a great little town to
just walk around, and they even have a boardwalk, complete with wood “sidewalks”!
Here’s a more realistic view
of the storefronts.I thought they were
colorful enough to not need to be converted to a crayon drawing!
And, finally, we stopped at a
wine tasting shop.They had wines from
several wineries in New Mexico, including some from this winery, based in a
town not far away.They even have red
and green chili wine – rather spicy for me!
As the sun
began to set, Jeff & I went back to White Sands.The dunes are very different at evening
compared to early morning.Come for a
walk at sunset with us…..
One of the interesting things about visiting
White Sands at sunset is the light and how it creates different colors on the
dunes.Initially, when we got there, the
sun cast a very warm glow on the sand.
watching the sunset on a trail thru the dunes.Trails on the dunes don’t look
like other trails, and it can be very easy to get lost.The telltale sign that we were on a trail
into the back country of the dunes is the red pole off to the left in this
image.Also, check out the footprints in
the sand.Still, with the winds blowing
at times, you can’t always count on footprints being there when you need them!
in another direction, I noticed a few other footprints in the sand.Did they belong to Jeff & me?I don’t think so, but after a while, one can’t
It was tough
to look in the direction of the sun, but it was a very beautiful sight to see
the sun’s rays casting their light on the dunes.
As the sun
set, the scene took on an almost magical tone.I’m not certain if there are fairies in the dunes, like there can be in
the forest (per myths!), but I could just about imagine them dancing on the
interesting feature of sunset is that the wind picks up just before
sunset.Take a look at the band of
blowing sand in this image.The sky has
taken on a lovely glow from the sunset, which was off to the left of this
As we made
our way back to the Jeep, the sky opposite from the setting sun took on several
colors, as the mountains on the other side of White Sands positively glowed!
Just a short distance from where we camped, there was a sort of
ghost town, or at least the remnants of one.Here are a couple of images from this place time forgot – a vintage touch to the images
seemed to fit with the feel of this place.
Old Windmill and
In a way, the lettering on the old water tank seemed to be an
old-fashioned billboard advertisement.
Cowboy Coffee Café
Yes, the storefront is rather cool, but that boot just hanging
off the roof added all the character in the world!
The last time we
were at White Sands, Miki was a number of years younger than she is now.However, being on what I think she thought of
as a very large beach brought out the puppy in her!
Racing up the Dunes
I guess she forgot
that her hips are a bit stiffer now – she raced up those dunes so quick I
barely had time to capture this shot!
On the Dunes
Once she was up on
top, she just had to trot around checking out her new territory!
She did take time
out to wait for Jeff to catch up, tho…
She really had the
dunes in this area all to herself (and us!).It’s great that this National Monument allows dogs, altho technically
she was supposed to be on a leash.(We
won’t tell if you won’t!)
Heading Down the
Ok, exploring is
done – now, she’s racing Jeff back to the Jeep!Oh, and what looks like packed snow is actually packed sand that has
been plowed so that cars can drive and park in this area of the dunes.
One morning on our
most recent camping trip, we visited White Sands early in the morning.There’s something about the light in the
early morning that makes everything softer, yet crisper, if that makes any
Path Thru the Dunes
The first place we
walked was in an area called “Dune Life” or something like that.It’s the place where you see the most natural
plant growth in White Sands.This was a
sort of path that took us deeper into the part of the Dunes where we’d see
White Sands Fall Color
And, since we were
there during the fall, it only makes sense that we’d see some fall color,
right?Somehow, I hadn’t really expected
to see actual fall color, but this shrub surprised me!.....
After we left the “Dune
Life” path, we drove along the road that took us further into the Dunes.The plant life became sparser, and the dunes
more prominent.This was the 3rd
or 4th visit to White Sands, and, altho at first one thinks nothing
can really change, because it’s “only” sand dunes, in fact, the wind that
carries over the dunes is re-sculpting the dunes all the time…..
Sign of Man
At first glance, all
one tends to see are the curves and lines formed by the shifting sands, but when
you look a bit closer, you can see the footsteps of another explorer to this
ever-changing, but unchanging place….
Sun on the Dunes
In this image, you
can see the textures created by the wind across the dunes, and if you look
really closely, you can see a small tiny dot just off to the left of where the
sun’s rays reach the furthest toward the dunes – it’s another
intrepid explorer – who knows how far away…..
And, throughout this
posting, you’ve seen some mountains off in the distance.In this image, you can see just the tops of
the San Andres Mountains peeking over the dunes.But, between those mountains and White Sands
National Monument is White Sands Missile Range.And, check out the texture of the sand that you can see in the
foreground of these images….
Speaking of texture
on the sand, check out this collection of images showing textures that we saw
on this morning visit!Many are driven
by the wind across the dunes, but the additional textures you can see in the
middle and right images were caused by some small creature traveling across the
sand.Again, another surprise, in a
way.You just don’t think of much living
in this environment.Oh, and by the way,
one closing tidbit of information.I’ve
been referring to the sand dunes – but, truly, they aren’t sand, the white “sand” is actually
gypsum!Somehow gypsum dunes doesn’t
quite have the ring that sand dunes does!
We’ve been to the area around White Sands National Monument and
White Sands Missile Range a few times, but never knew there was a museum
there!When Jeff discovered that before
this visit, he really wanted to check out the museum.It turns out the museum also has a missile
park, as they call it, alongside the small museum.From my perspective, the displays on the
outside were much cooler (with a few exceptions) than what was on the inside,
but then, I’m really not a history buff!
Old Fashioned Movie Camera
This really doesn’t have much to do with missiles, except that
many missile tests were filmed and this camera did the filming.In addition, this type of camera was what was
used for filming many of the movies in the 1930’s thru the 1950’s, from “Gone with
the Wind” to “Casablanca” and more!Altho it ran automatically, it could also be hand cranked, as it was
during some of the earliest movies.
4x5 Still Camera
Still cameras are more my style rather than movie cameras, and
this camera was used for portraits of people and occasions from 1957 – 1992.There were some photos in the museum from
when JFK visited White Sands Missile Range (and testing site) about 4 months
before he was assassinated in 1963.Think of all the history taken with this specific camera!
The V-2 Missile Program was used by Hitler and Nazi Germany
during World War II.Toward the end of
the War, Dr. Werner von Braun and most of his scientists and engineers decided
to surrender to the US.At about this
same time, a US Army unit had been assigned to find out all it could about the
V-2 Missile Program.They found a V-2
factory and about 250 V-2 missiles in various stages of production.This missile is one of the V-2 missiles that
was used by Germany during World War II.
The rest of the missiles shown from here on, are missiles that
are on display in the (outside) missile park of the museum.Altho I’m not going to relay the history
connected with all of these (mainly because I can’t!), I thought it might be
cool to show you all some missiles that I remember hearing about as I was
growing up, or in history books.
Patriot Missile Launcher Graffiti
I sort of liked the real graffiti that our troops used on the
launcher of a different type of missile from the Pershing missiles, the Patriot
missiles.It’s the mindset that allowed
us to win the war, I guess!
Aerobee 170 Missile
Even tho I’m not really into missiles, I do admire the clean
lines of many of these – and this
one looked so clean and white against the blue sky!
Balloon Launched Decelerator Test Vehicle
I don’t really know how this was used – or why – but, I couldn’t help but
wonder if some prototype of this might not have been what the folks at Roswell
thought were aliens invading out planet several years before this specific
model was used.Here at the missile
range, we’re really not that far from Roswell, NM, site of the supposed alien
landing many years ago!
Hound Dog Missile
Yes, this missile was named for Elvis Presley’s “You Ain’t
Nothin’ But a Hound Dog” song!I guess
it shows someone in the military had a bit of a sense of humor!It is the Strategic Air Command’s first
air-launched missile designed to attack and destroy enemy air defenses, making
way for our bombers to do their jobs.
This missile was the Army’s largest surface to surface ballistic
missile, and was also used to launch first satellite and first human into
space.That human was the late Senator
John Glenn.I really like this shot of
it – I walked right up next to it
and just shot looking directly up.It
did make me a bit dizzy having my head tilted so far back!
These were such cute little planes, they almost looked like big
toy model airplanes.But, they served an
important purpose, and weren’t really for playing with!These planes, or similar ones, were used as
targets for the various missile tests that went on at White Sands.And, as a final bit of trivia, many of them
were coated in some sort of oil that was particularly enticing to the dogs that
they used to recover the plane parts to see exactly what the missiles did to
For this week’s Postcard, I looked back at a trip earlier this
year to Big Bend National Park in Texas.Just down from the campground where we were, there was a picnic area,
with table under some cottonwood trees.Reminds me of picnics in days gone by.