Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The Sand Dunes at Guadalupe Mountains National Park

(Above:  Panorama of the Sand Dunes at Guadalupe Mountains National Park in western Texas.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

On Sunday morning I was up and in my cargo van before 6:00 AM.  My destination was the sand dunes.  The sand dunes are obviously still within Guadalupe Mountains National Park, but the access road was some forty miles away!  This National Park is GIGANTIC.  The drive was gorgeous because sunrise was occurring just beyond the mountain range itself.  Of course I had to stop for a photo!

(Above:  Looking back to the Guadalupe Mountains from the road leading to the National Park's sand dunes.)

The drive was gorgeous because sunrise was occurring just beyond the mountain range itself.  Of course I had to stop for a photo!

(Above:  Looking back toward the National Park's parking area and further down Williams Road.)

Off the highway, Williams Road leads straight ... and I mean absolutely straight and very, very bumpy ... for about ten miles to the sand dunes' parking area.  Yes ... that's my white cargo van back there in the photo above.  From the parking area, it is another mile or so to the northern edge of the sand dunes.

(Above:  The north edge of the sand dunes.)

To be honest, I wasn't much impressed at this point.  The dunes sort of looked like any other coastal dune.  I live in South Carolina.  It's not like I haven't seen a sand dune before.  I was sort of hoping for something like the sand dunes I've been to in Oregon or the ones near Kitty Hawk in North Carolina.  Nevertheless, I climbed up to take a look.

Well ... the scenery unfolded perfectly!  Sand dunes!  Lots of them!  I was really shocked at just how fabulous this beautiful, isolated place really is. Plus, in the slanted early morning light, it looked like I had the entire, wonderful place to myself ... but ...

... I didn't.  There were signs of life everywhere.  I saw fox and/or coyote tracks, rabbit tracks, and lots and lots of tracks made by various beetles.  It was fun walking beside some of the tracks made during the night.

It was also fun to watch the beetles who occasionally fell, rolled down the sand for a way, and started up again.  Their tracks were everywhere!

I loved walking along the rim of the dunes.  It sort of felt like walking down a sleeping giant's backbone.

The sun turned the rims into the most elegant sculptures.  I took dozens and dozens of photos, especially ones that really looked like abstract compositions. 

If there are people who think abstraction doesn't exist in nature ... well ... they haven't been here!

It was easy to get great shots with high contrast and easy to capture sweeping views of this isolated place.  I spent about an hour-and-a-half just walking up and down the dunes.  Then, I headed back to my provided, artist-in-residence studio apartment.

(Above:  Looking over the salt beds toward the Guadalupe Mountains on my return trip from the National Park's sand dunes.) 

The drive went by the the salt basin with its salt beds.  I hadn't seen them before dawn.  Amazingly, the color was brilliant turquoise, just the water surrounding Key West.  It's because of the sand!  All the other colors from the sun's spectrum are absorbed in the water.  The turquoise, however, reflects back off the white, white sand.  It was a great day!


Julie said...

I didn't know that about the turquoise colour in the sea so thank you. What an amazing adventure you're on and what wonderful natural abstracts.

Ann Scott said...

Thank you, again, for sharing these latest gorgeous photos and words from you adventure, they always help me imagine being there. Abstract in nature, YES!

Jan R said...

Love the rippled sand. Thanks for sharing your experiences!