White Sands National Monument by Carter

White Sands, the world’s largest gypsum dune field, is in New Mexico. Did you know that sand dunes can move up to 25 feet a year? The sand dune does that by having more and more sand blow over the top of a dune.

When we visited White Sands we rented a sled and slid down the steep part of the dunes. It was very hard to climb to the top of the dune because it was so steep. I collapsed nearly every time into the sand dune as I climbed up to the top.

We went to the place where a lake would be during the rainy months. When the lake dries up during the nonrainy season the gypsum is then selenite, which breaks down from the wind and gets smaller and smaller until it is sand. The water from the mountains around White Sands is gypsum rich because there is gypsum in the mountains.

Walking on the dry bottom of the lake reminded me of walking on Oreo cookies.  When you walked on it, it was the sound of crushing Oreo cookies.  The white of the selenite was very white.

We had a great time at White Sands National Monument.  If you go, I recommend renting the ten dollar sleds.  Check the weather because it was cold the day we went, but it gets really hot there.  It’s in a desert you know!IMG_2608 IMG_2621

21 thoughts on “White Sands National Monument by Carter

  1. Carter, thanks for the updates of your trip. I love knowing where you guys are all the time. I’m pretty jealous you are getting to see so many cool things. If your parents need a break maybe I will meet you guys somewhere and take over for them for a few weeks and you can show me around. 🙂 I bet I can drive that big ‘ol RV just fine after the first few tries.


  2. Hi Carter,

    I would really like to slide down that sand dune! Do you know how long the dunes have been there?

    Sounds like your trip is fun.

    Your friend,


  3. Did you get lots of sand in your stockings and shoes/boots? Did you save any in a glass jar? Whoever gets sand in TINY has to sweep and clean!


    1. Hi Unc John,

      The answer to you questions are yes and no. We saved some sand in a plastic bag (David comment: which came from our shoes after we got home. They ask you not to take any sand, but some just stays with you.)



  4. Carter, what a wonderful description! How unique to be sledding down a pile of dunes and up again! Your mother was brought up on snow sledding in Alaska in deep mounds of snow and your father , growing up in Minnesota, was also familiar with using a sled on snow! You and Bennett are certainly getting a taste of so many new things and I miss not seeing you do them! I am so pleased with all the new things you are learning.


  5. I’m sure the cold made it feel more like snow even though it was sand. I’m also sure it’s colder here then it was there. We’re up to 4 today.
    Keep the updates coming,
    Aunt Shell


  6. Carter. Thanks for the look through your eyes at White Sands. I especially like that walking on the lake floor sounded like the crushing of Oreos. Someday, maybe you can go kayaking in Glacier Bay in Alaska. The glaciers break off pieces at the front, then those icebergs float out to the bigger bays of the area. As the icebergs break up into smaller and smaller pieces, a person kayaking through an area of small ice pieces from the size of a tennis ball to the size of a large dog kennel–the ice pieces rotate and move under the sunshine–and they make a sound like Rice Krispies going “snap, crackle, pop” in a bowl of milk. That’s what I heard when I kayaked among the Ice Krispies. Keep having a great time on your trip. Aunt Connie


  7. Hi Carter…You don’t know me but I am a friend of your Mom’s and I have really been enjoying your blogs. You boys are so lucky to have the parents you have! What amazing times you are experiencing and the memories you are making are priceless. I am wondering…did you get sand in your teeth while riding down the dunes??


  8. Awesome post, Carter– I love all your descriptive language! Sounds like crushing Oreo cookies–cool. Also, I gotta know–what’s so great about the ten dollar sleds? (Are there cheaper crappy ones?)


    1. Hi Susan,

      I think the sleds are good because it’s fun to slide down. There’s another grown-up one that’s $15. We did not get that one.


      P.S. from Betsy: Just so you know, they SELL sleds for $15 (kids) or $20 (adult), then you return them for a $5 buy-back. The won’t rent them for liability reasons.


  9. Hello Carter! Suddenly, my eyes feel scratchy, my skin flaky and dry, and I am so very thirsty. I was intrigued by your post, and went to the White Sands NPS site. Thanks to your post, I learned even more fascinating information about a place I’ve never been. For example, there is evidence of prehistoric mammoths, and a prehistoric camel. Were there any alerts for missile testing at nearby White Sands Missile Range while you were visiting? Again, thanks to your post, I did a little research on the White Sands Missile Range. I found an interesting discussion about the difference between a rocket and a missile. Thank you Carter for inspiring me to expand my horizons. Sincerely, Aunt Theresa.


    1. Hi Aunt Theresa,

      No there were not any missile warnings. I think we chose to come on a day there not supposed to be any.

      Thank you for saying such nice things.



  10. Hi, Carter! Very enjoyable and descriptive post. I giggled at the last sentence, “It’s in a desert you know!” I could almost imagine you saying that while raising your finger high in the air to make your point. So, tell me: How is it that you know what it sounds like when you crush Oreo cookies? And why is it specifically Oreo cookies? Does it sound different when you crush chocolate chip cookies? Hmmm… Now I’m hungry for cookies.


  11. Hi guys,
    I’m really enjoying ready your posts and following along on your adventure. I’m even having my boys read your them because you’re doing such a great job with the writing. Lots of details, good sentence structure and fun to read…keep up the good work! I even told Mrs. Gotting how great your blog is and now she’d like to follow you as well. I’ll sign her up if that’s okay with you all. Happy travels!


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