A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Friday, April 22, 2011

White Sands 3

This here I found to be fascinating, probably more so than anything else at the monument. I was on a nature trail that looped through the dunes. The trail was showing how the different animals live and survive in this unique environment. I walked up this dune thinking it no more than some brush eeking out an existence. The sign read that this was the very top of a 25-30 foot tall cottonwood tree. The sands had completely buried most of the tree, but as long as a portion remained exposed, the tree would survive until the dune gradually moved on pushed by the continuing winds that brought it here in the first place. It was hard to picture that I was walking among the top of a tree where birds would normally be.

I didn't see any animals but didn't expect to as they are usually only active at night. Only the tracks left behind from their evening activities.


  1. Those cottonwood trees are very interesting. At Zion we were told that the early pioneers looked for cottonwood trees as they only live where there is reliable water. Did I tell you the blog book of Europe I made turned out great. You should do that with your black and whites. Hard copies are still wonderful and real.

  2. wow. that's impressive - and odd too. i'd be smothered and claustrophobic!

  3. this is fascinating about that tree. initially when I read this, it didn't make sense because I thought cottonwoods grew along riverbanks. I looked this up and the Rio Grande Cottonwood is known as the "water tree" - named "because it was a welcome sight to pioneer desert caravans - it often signaled water. but it has found a home in the White Sands Monument - by capturing and securing soil in the interdune flats and extending roots to a relatively shallow water table". very interesting. I look at these photos and see so much dryness yet it's so beautiful. the black and white is perfect. I wonder how long it takes for a dune to move on. great post John. have a great weekend.

  4. Oh love these. You visit such interesting places.

  5. I enjoy photo #2 the black and white contrast. Again I see it on a wall, all blown up. You are posting some stunning photos. Will look forward to tomorrow's post.


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