Join us for a potluck social! Afterwards, hike out to Alkali Flat during the full moon. This is the night before the official "full moon night," so the park will be closing at 10pm, but most people have greater flexibility on Sun than on Monday for a potluck.
Note: this is different than the National Park Service's "Full Moon Hike", which is much shorter (1 mi), and requires reservation in advance.
Please bring (apart from the obvious, like water):
- Any necessary paperwork for immigration (there is a checkpoint!)
- Flashlight (for emergency and trial marker locating purposes only, please don't use it and walk by moonlight instead)
- A potassium-containing snack (i.e. banana) — going up & down dunes is tiring, and we don't want to take too long.
- Folding chair or blanket to sit on.
- A dish and/or drink to share during the potluck.
Because we rather focus on socializing and hiking rather than cooking, we are not bringing charcoal or a grill—please bring something to the potluck that tastes good cold! When you RSVP, list what you are bringing. We will plan on parking at the Alkali Flats trailhead and setting up the potluck on one of the surrounding dunes, so we won't have to move the cars.
Also, alcohol is allowed, though the park strongly urges you to be responsible about glass. If you'd like, feel free to bring a bottle of wine or case of beer to share.
If you are a guest of the United States (i.e. non-citizen), there is a US Customs & Border Patrol checkpoint demarcating passage to/from what the ACLU calls a "Constitution-Free Zone". If this bothers you, donating to the ACLU and harassing your congress critters; otherwise please bring appropriate documentation of your entry into the US (passports, visas, etc—you know better what you need than we do). Group hikes are not the place to make a stand for your civil liberties.
If you're hiking, details for the hike:
DISTANCE is is ~5 mi loop.
ELEVATION GAIN is some 200 ft elevation lost, but effectively it is much more because of the up & down of the dunes
FEES: $3/person. If you have a Federal Lands Pass, please bring them; they are accepted here.
DURATION: From before sunset (~6:30-7 pm) to whenever we get back (have to be done and out of park by 10pm). We will start hiking no later than 7:00.
PET FRIENDLY? Yes. Pets pets must be on a leash or physically restrained at all times (park rules).
SKILL LEVEL is good for a first hike, but still somewhat challenging; the sand is loose and the hike is medium-length (5 mi).
TERRAIN gypsum sand dunes. The recommendation is that you walk barefoot; otherwise, high-ankle boots/shoes with gaiters (to keep sand out of your shoes) also work great.
WEATHER is ???. It will be warm when we arrive at 5:30 but will cool off very quickly by sunset. (will up-date conditions when gets closer to date.)
AFTERWARDS we'll go home. It's probably too late to do anything else.
MEET for carpool at:
- Las Cruces: 4:30 pm, K-Mart parking lot on North Main/US 70 and Del Rey, near Shell. See map (OpenStreetMap or Google Maps).
- El Paso: Please self-organize!
- White Sands visitor center: 5:30 pm, front parking lot facing US 70. If you have a federal lands pass, consider carpooling from the visitor's center into the monument so people can save on admission fees. GPS: [masked]°N,[masked]°W (see onGoogle Maps, OpenStreetMap, USGS topo map)[masked]°N,[masked]°W (see on Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, USGS topo map)
- White Sands Alkali Flat trailhead: 5:45 pm. Please meet at the Alkali Flat trailhead for the potluck and to register for the hike. GPS: [masked]°N,[masked]°W (see on Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, USGS topo map)