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White Sand and Missiles! 8/16/2024

When you cross the Chihuahuan Desert from Alamogordo to Las Cruces, you pass by Holloman Airforce Base. Shortly after you will come across the White Sands National Park. This very unique park has a large section that is comprised of powdery white sand. The dunes are smooth and, coming from Minnesota, you start to think you ran across big piles of snow in the desert. Plows are even needed to clear the sand from the roads, just like snow. A quick look at the temperature brings you back to reality.

The large dunes bring out the kid in everyone and sleds are available at the Park office. Sliding down the steep dunes is a common practice.

Adjacent to the White Sands National Park is the White Sands Missile Range. The Missile range, and its military base, are considered the "Birthplace of Americas Missile and Space Activity". 100 miles north of here is the Trinity Site, location of the first detonated atomic bomb.

Comprised of 3,200 squares miles (roughly the size of Rhode Island and Delaware) White Sands Missile Range supports the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as commercial and international users on a reimbursable basis while conducting more than 3,000 tests annually. After 76 years, over 42000 rocket and missile test have been performed. It's claimed that no place on earth can conduct vital, complex testing like White Sands Missile Range.

The military base that supports the missile range is on the east side of the desert at the base of the Organ Mountain Range. Just on the other side of the range is Las Cruces NM. A relatively large city, with a population of approx. 215,000, is a vibrant city with lots to offer.

Unfortunately, hiway 70 is the only road to cross the desert from Alamogordo to Las Cruces and this road is shut down during missile tests. Might end up sitting for awhile.

The military base of the White Sands Missile Range can be seen in the photo beloew (lower right of photo).

Organ Mountain range next to the military base.

Morning view of the desert from our campsite.

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