Saturday, November 5, 2011

El Malpais

Sometimes things work out so smoothly. It just takes a little while for it to fall into place.
Oh, if only I were refering to our house being sold. Not so lucky on that front. On the other hand traveling 90 miles out of town into the desert can be quite refreshing.
Can you believe how blue that sky is? Geez
Lisa asked last minute if Tigo and I wanted to go camping with her and Attie, and the stars aligned just right that I could get away. With just one child and spend some nice time with nothing to look at but beautifulness and sweet boy exploring the desert.
It's hard to tell from this picture just how big it is, but that is a Massive arch carved out in the rock. It is pretty incredible. I had no idea they were there like that. Not nearby at least.
So after checking out the arch we head over to the bluffs to play around. Do a little boulder hopping and check out the eternal view of vast unoccupied desert.
Interestingly enough, there was water on top of the bluffs. I think it had rained the day before, but because the temperature has been so cool  it hadn't evaporated yet.

 But it was pretty cool for the boys to play in and check out while they discovered the different rock formations.
The boys found a USGS marker that let us know that we were above sea level. Good thing, as we weren't sure. But of course, at one time this area was in fact below the sea. That time was before the USGS was created though.  Later at the BLM visitor center, we did find out that it was located at 6666ft. Albuquerque is at 5000ft.
The black rock below was from the now extinct Mt. Johnson volcano that blew it's top thousands of years ago. These are some of the lava fields that have been left behind New Mexico is filled with crazy lava fields like these. White sands and black rocks. Crazy.
That is Mt. Johnson behind the boys on the horizon.
El Malpais. The bad country. The bad lands. 
There is a lot of that here. Land carved by wind and sand. Only a little water.
Small creveses left behind. Breaking rock and water left hidden for the smallest creatures to survive.
We found a nice litte spot between the the brush at the bottom of a nice hill. A hill the boys went up and down.
 While they did that, Lisa and I cracked open a bottle of wine and went to watch the sun set.
After the sun was gone, we had a little fire. Roasted some dogs, had some s'mores and relaxed under a milllion gazillion stars.
The sliver of moon set orange on the horizon and allowed us to peer into the darkest abyss. The milky way looked like a cloud in the sky it was filled to it's peak with more stars that you could imagine. It was almost difficult to pick out constillations, there were so many stars in between them all.
We watched satelites drift through the stars. And watched probably 15 shooting stars. Or more.
And it got cold. Our sleeping bags were nice and cozy, but any exposed skin froze.
And it's not a great shot, but we saw a tarantula crawling along as we cleaned up our site in the morning.

Tigo and I went for a little hike, just the two of us. Saw coyote scat and deer tracks. Wonder who got to eat and who got away.
Great way to spend a very relaxing, but not quite long enough 24hrs!

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