Alkali Flat Loop

November 24, 2019.

5 mi. | 500′ ele. gain | 2 hr.

alkali flat

Photo album

We’d hiked the nature trails. We toured Lake Lucero. We spent a night on the dunes. The only thing left to do in White Sands National Monument was to hike the Alkali Flat Loop.

I’m going to be perfectly honest. This hike was incredibly boring. We followed trail-marking posts for five miles along gently undulating sand-colored sand dunes. No one was ahead of us but a couple of hikers were always right in view, just out of earshot to our rear. The sand was cold and there was nothing to see out there. Well, there was one thing to see: a curious building way off into the distance. We walked towards it but never seemed to get any closer.

Finally, around the midpoint of our hike we came to a sign. It sternly warned us to stick to the trail because there were unexploded munitions beyond the sign. The building was located way beyond the sign, so the only interesting thing we’d sighted was far off the trail. Solemnly, we circled back and finished the loop. At the parking lot we descended into throngs of people posing with props for social media, sledding down the sand hills and just generally taking up space. It was an anticlimactic way to end our stay at White Sands. If I had to do it all again I’d skip this loop altogether.

Onward to new adventures in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

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