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Our adventures.

Playing Tourists in New Mexico, Part 5

20190330_142426 El Malpais National Munument, NM
Wild horses roaming the campground.

Last Monday, March 25th, we decided to move up north to Bluewater Lake State Park. We knew it was a risk with the weather, but we were looking for new scenery and new adventures. This State Park only has 14 sites with electric, but another 130+ sites without electric. It was a gamble that paid off. Being early-season, the state park was almost empty. There were only a few electric sites taken. We also got lucky, as almost all of the sites (electric and not) are small. There was really only one site our 40' RV would fit into and it was available with electric. $4 a night, using our New Mexico annual camping pass.  The campgrounds in this state park are primarily for small trailers and tents. Wild horses roam around the campground freely. It was startling the first time to hear them "winnie" only a few feet from the motorhome.

Connie's crafting corner.
Larry working at home.

During our week stay here, Connie's been working on a "secret" craft project. Details will follow, once she's ready for the big reveal. I've been working on this website a great deal lately. You may have noticed that the site has been completely redesigned. I'll make another posting soon detailing some of the improvements to the site that's been made. We also made day trips to the nearby towns of Grants and Gallup, as well as a couple National Monuments.

​The towns of Grants and Gallup are fairly small. While they're full of history, there's not much in either town. We saw many billboards announcing the Hotel El Rancho, with it's "Western Movie Gallery". Being this is part of the old (and famous) Route 66, we thought it would be worth checking it out. An interesting old hotel that has a long history, but not what we were expecting. Their "Western Movie Gallery" is a bunch of actor head shots on the walls. Sure, many of them are known for their old westerns and many of them probably stayed in the hotel. Still, it was an interesting stop to look at before lunch.

Hotel El Rancho, Gallup, NM
Hotel El Rancho in Gallup, NM

Since the weather had been nice, we made another day trip to the El Malpais National Monument near Grants, NM. El Malpais means "the badlands". This area has various volcanic features, including cinder cones, a lava tube cave system extending at least 17 miles, and fragile ice caves. There's hundred of miles of various lava flow fields. The sandstone bluffs overlook provided an excellent view, high above the lava flows. Driving further down the road you can find the 2nd largest natural arch in New Mexico - the La Ventana Natural Arch. This was an easy .5 mile hike to get a closer view of the arch.

360° Photo from the Sandstone Bluff Overlook

Another interesting day trip was to the El Morro National Monument, also near Grants, NM. We weren't too sure about this trip, as the weather turned cold. It was 26°F outside this morning when we woke up. But we figured we'd at least go for a drive and decide later if we wanted to do any walking. Well, it warmed up to at least 35°F and we were willing to stretch our legs. We decided to go for the short 2 mile hike up to the top and across some narrow ledges. It was a circular hike that took us up stairs to some ancient pueblo ruins. Only 17 rooms had been excavated, out of the 800 estimated rooms there. Once we got to the top (out of breath), the weather turned on us. It got colder and started to snow/sleet. Luckily, it wasn't too heavy and we were able to continue on the hike.

It was "fun" trying to follow the path on these sandstone narrows. There were places that had steps carved out of the stone. Most of the trail was just lines cut into the sandstone. At places, it was hard to tell where the trail went. But it was fun and we both survived!

At the bottom of El Morro is what's known as "Inscription Rock". Before the inscriptions were left, there are ancient petroglyphs and carvings from several centuries ago. The original inscriptions in the cliff were from the Spaniard colonizers, with the oldest inscription left in 1605. This is 15 years before the Mayflower's landing. It wasn't until 1849 that Americans starting scribing in English. While well worn, there are hundreds of inscriptions in the sandstone cliff walls.

Tomorrow, we're leaving Bluewater Lake State Park and New Mexico. We'll cross the border into Arizona and visit the Petrified Forest National Park.

Location (Map)

El Malpais National Monument, NM
1
Petrified Forest National Park, AZ
Playing Tourists in New Mexico, Part 4

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Tuesday, 23 April 2019

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