Location visible to members
For the past 3 years the park had stayed open until 10 pm on the Full Moon nights in October. However it seems like this year they will be closing the park at 9, instead of 10pm (called and confirmed by both Kenny and myself). This will give us only 1.5-2 hours of hiking time total. We are still planning on going and will hike for as long as we can, but we will be unable to complete the entire loop. This hike will be changed to an out and back instead of the entire loop. Meetup times will stay the same, however the ending time will change.
Please update your RSVP, if this change affects your RSPV status (ie, if you are no longer planning on attending, please change your RSVP to NO).
The times listed below are departure times. Please arrive 5-10 minutes early to check in and to organize the carpool. Thanks!
Each month during the summer, White Sands has a "full moon night" where the park is kept open an extra hour or two. The park closes at 10 pm. Perfect for some night time, moonlit hiking. This will be the last Full Moon Hike to Alkali Flat for 2015. Since it is close to Halloween, please feel free to dress up in your favorite hikeable costume to celebrate the holiday (such as cool Wonder Woman socks for Linda Carter)!
Note: this is DIFFERENT than the National Park Service's "Full Moon Hike" (http://www.nps.gov/whsa/planyourvisit/full-moon-hikes.htm), which is much shorter (1 mi), and requires a reservation in advance.
Please bring (apart from the obvious, like water):
⚫ Any necessary paperwork for immigration (see note below)
⚫ Flashlight (for emergency purposes only; please don't use it and walk by moonlight instead)
⚫ A potassium-containing snack (i.e., banana or protein bar) — going up & down dunes is tiring, and we don't want to take too long.
⚫ Sweater/jacket — it may be chilly on the dunes.
If you have a GPS, you can download the GPS track linked below onto it. (The event host may or may not be tracking the hike).
People have gotten lost while driving to the Alkali Flat trail head, even while caravaning. The trail head is not particularly well marked, is difficult to give directions to (there aren't really any landmarks), and following each other never works out. Please check the map of Dunes Drive (http://www.nps.gov/whsa/planyourvisit/upload/Dunes_Drive_with_blackband_web_version_2_3_2014.pdf) BEFORE you meet the group. If you're familiar with it you'll be better able to follow others.
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" (http://www.aclu.org/national-security_technology-and-liberty/are-you-living-constitution-free-zone). If this bothers you, please donate to the ACLU (https://www.aclu.org/donate/join-renew-give) and harass your congress critters (http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml); 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.
DISTANCE 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: $5/person. If you have a Federal Lands Pass, please bring them; they are accepted here. If you carpool, please remember to compensate your driver.
HIKE DURATION: From 7:00 pm to whenever we get back to parking lot (probably between 9:30-9:45 pm). (park closes at 10 pm, so have to be done by then)
PET FRIENDLY? Yes. Please bring a muzzle, just in case. Pets must be on a leash or physically restrained at all times (park rules).
SKILL LEVEL is intermediate and can be somewhat challenging; the sand is loose, the hike is medium-length (5 mi), and we have a time limit for the hike. If you're a fast hiker, consider bringing weights to slow your pace down to the rest of the group. Please stay with the group.
TERRAIN is 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. Please bring a pair of sandals or shoes with you in case the sand gets rough.
KID FRIENDLINESSAs the parent or guardian you know best what your child is capable of. Use common sense, but if you need further details send the organizer a message with any questions. In the end you and you alone are responsible for your child.
WEATHER High 77, low 48. Check the forecast at the NWS. (http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-106.273515&lat=32.820625) It can be surprisingly cool on dunes, especially if they are damp.
AFTERWARDS we'll go home.
MEET for carpool at:
⚫ Las Cruces: 5:45 pm, K-Mart parking lot on North Main/US 70 and Del Rey, near Shell. GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (https://www.meetup.com/las-cruces-hiking/events/120102702/geo:32.35083,-106.76538) (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=32.35083,-106.76538&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=32.35083&mlon=-106.76538&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=32.35083,-106.76538&marker0=32.35083,-106.76538&z=18))
⚫ El Paso: 5:15 pm, Walmart at Transmountain/US 54 at the west-most parking lot towards US 54. See map (Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=31.897292,+-106.439618&aq=&sll=31.897353,-106.435947&sspn=0.001806,0.001269&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=16)). Note: your host is not meeting here, please self-organize!
⚫ White Sands visitor center: 6:45 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 (https://www.meetup.com/las-cruces-hiking/events/120102702/geo:32.77935,-106.17218) (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=32.77935,-106.17218&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=32.77935&mlon=-106.17218&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=32.77935,-106.17218&marker0=32.77935,-106.17218&z=18))
⚫ White Sands Alkali Flat trailhead: 7:00 pm, at the trailhead register. GPS:[masked]°N,[masked]°W (https://www.meetup.com/las-cruces-hiking/events/120102702/geo:32.820625,-106.273515) (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=32.820625,-106.273515&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=32.820625&mlon=-106.273515&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=32.820625,-106.273515&marker0=32.820625,-106.273515&z=18)). Please DON'T meet here unless you know where it is! I plan to be hiking very soon after 7pm.
If you are not planning on meeting the group at Kmart, please comment on where you will be meeting the group. We will try stick close to the time above. Thanks and see you on the dunes!
⚫ White Sands National Monument's Website (http://www.nps.gov/whsa/)
⚫ GPS track
***Caution/Disclaimer: Each individual hiker is responsible for their own personal safety/health and of their guests when participating in Jornada Hiking & Outdoor Club activities. The organizers of Jornada Hiking & Outdoor Club and the Jornada Hiking & Outdoor Club are not liable for any illness, injury, accident, mechanical break-down, or unforeseen acts that may occur while you participate going to, during, or after any activity. If you have a medical condition that may be aggravated by any kind of physical activity you must make your own personal decision about attending and not hold any of the volunteer organizers liable. All organizers are volunteers and are not compensated during any activity.***