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Sunset at White Sands National Park

Sunset at White Sands National Park

It was late and my body was exhausted from a long day of hiking and traveling. A storm was building across the desert and as I checked into my motel a few miles from the park I looked to the sky. I sat on the bed and debated making one more trip out for the day. Almost didn’t go. I almost missed the sunset at White Sands National Park. But I went. I made it just in time and was rewarded with one of the best moments I have ever seen.

The White Sand

I was not sure what to expect on my first trip to White Sands National Park. As I pulled up the ranger told me to “just go find a spot and enjoy it.” So much for having a plan. I drove into the park and saw the white sand on either side of the road. Then all of a sudden the asphalt road turned to the very white sand I was there to see.

As the road became sand and the dunes got taller on either side, I felt engulfed. The white sand dimmer now with the sun retreating for the night. I found a parking lot and pulled up to the edge. Then I saw something odd, shoes. Hiking boots, sandals, gym shoes. All set nicely by the edge of the first dune. Apparently barefoot is the footwear of choice. I kicked off my shoes and stepped foot on the surprisingly cool sand. The sand felt like a ocean front beach in consistency yet something was different.

My feet sank into the inviting sand. Not hot but not cold either. As I made my way up to the top of the first dune, I was instantly transported into a Monet painting. The sand stretched in front of me like a sea frozen in time. The waves standing still instead of crashing.

The white sand stretching out under a Sunset at White Sands National Park.
The white sand stretching out under a Sunset at White Sands National Park.

A Moment in Time

The sea of sand stretched not to a horizon but to a line of jagged peaks. The ocean meeting the land. The sun was balancing gently above the ridgeline, taking in one last look at the waves stretched out before it.

The sunset on the top of the mountains during Sunset at White Sands National Park.
The sunset on the top of the mountains during Sunset at White Sands National Park.

The sky contrasted the muted sand with a kaleidoscope of colors. To the west, the clouds glowed orange in anticipation of the sun’s retreat.

The clouds glowing gold during sunset at White Sands National Park just as the sun has dipped behind the mountains.
Golden rays of sun bouncing off the clouds at White Sands National Park

To the east, the line of storms paused to pay homage to the end of the day.

Storm clouds sitting over a mountain range at sunset at White Sands National Park.
Storm clouds sitting over a mountain range at sunset at White Sands National Park.

Between the storm and the sunset. A simple rainbow stood guard to allow both moments a time to shine.

A soft rainbow stretching across the sky at White Sands National Park.
A soft rainbow stretching across the sky at White Sands National Park.

Time Heals All

This one moment, a second that stretched for an hour, was enough to make me forget the achy bones. Sitting in soft and cool sand with a rainbow above, a sunset in front, and storm clouds behind me filled my tired soul with energy.

The moment felt mystical or magical in a way. The raw power of natures summer storm. A sunset made more spectacular by combining the sun, sand, and mountains. I sat there between it all. Lost in the moment, my thoughts as still as the sand rolled out in front of me. Nothing but peace and a moment.

White sand looking a bit pink during sunset.
White sand looking a bit pink during sunset.

The length of the moment wasn’t relative. It may have been a minute, it may have been twenty. I sat there lost in time. In a space that was at the same time vast and tiny. It gave me a moment of perspective. I could focus on the storm behind me or the beauty of the sunset ahead. But I realized that sometimes, sitting in between the chaos and the calm can lead to a rainbow overhead. Staying in the moment and not looking back or getting to far ahead can be exactly where you need to be. And that is where I was, for one of the best moments I have had. All because of one Sunset at White Sands National Park.

More from The Fatman

If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy more of the posts on my Fatman’s Rambling page. Blogs such as “Hiking Alone not Lonely Hiking“, “Winslow, Arizona” and “Screw it, I’m Trying” as well as many others may interest you there. If you have any comments or topics you would like me to cover, feel free to email me at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com. Or you can keep the conversation going by following me on any of the below social media platforms.

8 thoughts on “Sunset at White Sands National Park”

  1. Check out the Tecolote Cafe (Owl Cafe) in San Antonio, NM!
    Best Green Chili Cheese Burger in NM!!
    If you have time, drive South from San Antonio to the Bosque del Apache, a USFWS Waterfowl Preserve. Thousands of Sandhills Cranes, Snow Geese, and the occasional Whooping Crane!!
    HAPPY THANKSGIVING 🦃🍁!!
    Henry and Lisa Austin

  2. Greg, The photos were breathtaking. And I love your description of the “stilling” effect of such beauty. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Aunt Lou Ann

  3. Really spectacular pictures and I can see why you felt it was mystical or magical – a lot was going on in the sky right then.

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