Posted by: Cross Country Couple | December 17, 2010

Day 90 … White Sands National Monument

We took the I-10 route out of El Paso which brought us within 500 feet of mexico. Once we arrived at the White Sands Monument, we stopped in at the visitors center to watch an information film about the area. The White Sands National Monument is 275 square miles of gypsum sand dunes that cover the desert and creat the world’s largest gypsum dune field. After leaving the visitors center, we took an 8 mile scenic roadway leading deep into the heart of the dune field known as the Dunes Drive. At the end of the road, we got out of the car and hiked through the dunes along the Alkali Flat Trail. The sun was just beginning to set by the time we returned to the car.
We stayed up most of the night watching the meteor shower. Eventually we fell asleep sitting up in the front seats of the car. By sunrise, we woke up and drove back into town to Wal-Mart where we set up the bed and fell back asleep.

 

Star Trails

 

Back on the road, we made our way towards Alamogordo, NM. For dinner, we went to a local chinese buffet. Tonight is the peak of the annual Geminids meteor shower. This meteor shower produces an average of 80 meteors an hour. We drove to the top of a nearby mountain range and found a spot to park and watch the show. Although we tried to capture photos of some of the shooting stars, we didn’t have any luck. Instead, we ended up with a few photos of star trails. Star trails are produced when you leave the camera shutter open and, due to the rotation of the earth and movement of the stars, capture streaks across the sky.

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