Friday, 17 July 2009

Day 17 - New Mexico, Arizona.

Greetings from Tucson, Arizona!

We seem to bring the weather with us wherever we go - we've probably seen more days with thunder than without. But here it's welcome; Arizona has been suffering from drought this summer. These thunderstorms seem to hit in the evenings here, rather than in the afternoon like in Florida.

We went to the cinema here in Tucson tonight to see Ice Age 3 (very funny - I enjoyed it more than the first one at least!) and when we came out, thunder was crackling all over the skies. Thunder in Sweden pales in comparison to what I've seen here. For one, the landscape is very flat and you can see the sky for miles and miles. Lightning usually forks off and lights up everything in that direction. I'm both scared and thrilled at the same time when the storms hit. It's the essence of nature: beautiful, powerful and frightening.

When we're in the car and I can't hold Mattias's hand, I hold on to a handle on the car door. It's like my comfort blanket :P

It's impossible to get good pictures of lightning, but we did see something pretty amazing earlier in the day...

Between Texas and Arizona lies New Mexico, and we decided to take a little detour to watch the White Sands National Monument. Some of you might be familiar with the White Sands Missile Range, where rocket and missile testing and launching goes on - it's a big stretch of desert, and in the middle of that lies the White Sands. I can't remember the exact story behind the geology, but this is basically an area rich in gypsum (gips). Whereas gypsum is normally watered down and carried out to sea with the rain, the White Sands lie in an enclosed basin with no outlets. When the rain water evaporates here, it leaves behind gypsum sand which forms itself into dunes with the wind.

It's a truly awesome place to visit, with miles of white sand dunes all around:

Here's Mattias looking like he's out in the Sahara somewhere:

A storm is brewing across the basin over the mountains:

So that was obviously the highlight of the day! Arizona has treated us to some new exciting cactus species, including the classical, stereotypical cactus - you know, the one with a couple of arms sticking out the sides :) No pictures of that yet though. Tomorrow we head up to Flagstaff, our base camp for Grand Canyon. I don't think we'll be able to see any of it tomorrow, but pictures should be up by the end of the weekend.

Until then!

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