Coming to you from a tent in the middle of the gypsum dunes of the White Sands National Monument where we are taking refuge from the white-hot heat of the midday sun. It is blazing a trail of death from sunrise to sunset, and we are trying pretending that we are desert travelers from another time, possibly even a future time in a galaxy far, far away, where giant sand worms erupt from the dunes to gobble up whole expeditionary forces, camels, and gypsy wagons alike.
We had planned to camp among the dunes, but the billowing clouds gathering steam over the distant mountains forced us to reassess our decision. We spent the morning repacking the car, driving, unpacking the car, packing out backpacks, repacking the car, and then hiking across the endless dunes, in what could have been a scene reminiscent of the English Patient. We gave ourselves a cut-off time for making the call whether or not to retreat back to the car, but until then, we relished our time spent in the glistening, pure white sand, as find as sugar.
Having bought flying saucer style snow sleds from the gift shop, we hiked the highest dune around, threw ourselves down the slopes, sliding and spinning to the bottom, ending toppled into the tufts of prickly grass growing in the washes at the bottom. We raced, (Matt claims he won. False. Obviously.), climbed back up, sat watching the thick white clouds growing on the horizon, lay with our backs in the sand enjoying sifting the fine grains through our fingertips. It was moment in which time seemed to linger, the whiteness swallowing up cares, throwing caution to the wind amidst a glittering handful of sand tossed gently into the strengthening breeze. But the clouds at our backs were mushrooming into navy fingers reaching out over the dunes, so we made the call to pack up once again and move on, hopefully in the opposite direction from the storms.