The dirty thirty

Well it has happened.  I am 30 years young.

It is not so much the number that worries me, it is my ever pressing brain with all the ideas and activities and travels I must complete before it is too late that worries me.  If life was a race, I would be a little behind my planned pace, BUT I must remember that I always picked it up the second half of the race.

My friends and I took a fantastic trip to the mountains in New Mexico to celebrate the dirty thirty.  I am so happy that my friends were able to join me in such a unique environment.  We traveled from the dry, treeless desert, to the evergreen mountains in about 3 hours!  One of the best parts of living in El Paso is the close access to so many amazing areas.  The pictures really tell the story of this journey better than my words:

These silly kids could not get enough of the mountains and the pictures.
A cold hike at 11,000 feet.
Warmed up during the hike and all smiles!

 We stayed in a cabin with a wood burning fireplace in Ruidoso, New Mexico for two nights.  We trekked up to 11,000 feet to Ski Apache and braved the cold and wind for a short hike.  This winter we hope to make it back up to Ruidoso for some snowboarding!  Excited.

No view of the Mountain today.  Guess we will have to come back. 😉
A scary drive up to 11,000 feet.

Just outside of Cloudcroft, New Mexico we stopped on the side of the road to hike down to a beautiful creek: 

Beautiful cold mountain water.
Shan and I made it through this day.
Great friends make life great.

I am so happy this weekend came together!
It is like we are dressed for different climates! 
Nobody told me about the left arm memo.

Heading out of the mountains. The quick change of scenery. One minute trees and the next none to be seen.

On our way back to El Paso we made it to White Sands National Monument just before dark.  We paid $3 per person to explore for 45 minutes and it was well worth every penny.   The white sand is actually gypsum and this area is the world’s largest gypsum dunefield.  The dunes lie in the Tularusa Basin which are surrounded by Mountains.  Gypsum (soluble in water) is carried down from the mountains into the basins by rivers, and because the basin does not have a drainage the water evaporates and the gypsum remains.  The result is a beautiful 275 square miles of wind carved gypsum dunes.  What I found most interesting in this area is that evolution is happening right before our eyes!   The animals that inhabit the area have evolved lighter coloring than their counterparts elsewhere to be able to survive these extreme conditions.  A great example is the lesser earless lizards, which have evolved white coloration to better camoflauge and protect themselves from predators.  Take a look at a quick article with pictures on this phenomenon (evolution happening today).   Natural selection at its finest is displayed in the animals of White Sands.  

It’s like you are at the beach, but the gypsum is much softer than sand!
Climbing the dunes so we can slide back down.  Many people brought sleds.
Shan and David in the sunset.  Great picture.
Rough housing at the dunes.
I was trying to capture David and Shan sitting on the tailgate but ended up with this sweet pic instead.

Bridge to the unknown.

An inspiring quote on one of the signs in the park.

A world of gypsum.

In just three short days we were able to experience all of this!  Everyone’s life is extremely busy and it is hard to remember to take time to do the things you want to do.  For my next 30 years, that is what I am going to try and do better.  I have a life list and it is time to start checking some items off! 

By the way, are you looking for some adventure inspiration?  National Geographic has posted stories, interviews and pictures of the 2012 Adventurers of the Year.   From a woman that broke the Appalachian trail hiking record, to people that have summited Everest and para glided down to an extreme snowboarder, 19 year old champion woman surfer and more.  Check out their pictures and more here on the website.  

… oh to dream.  Well screw just dreaming, I am going to make things happen!

Dream and DO.

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