Valley of Fires, NM

Lava. Lots of black lava, for a good 45 miles. The park includes a two mile trail that goes through the lava fields, and from there you can hike out onto the flows, which sounds a lot easier than it is. After about 50 yards of rugged, ankle-twisting on glass-sharp lava, that trail looks pretty good!

We met some really nice people, including a vet who gave us all kinds of good advice for Jesse, and a couple who had the same old Toyota RV as our putt-putt and who sent Jesse off with a very cool, schwirly, glowy dog-ball, and the fabulous Ms. Betty. I also chatted with a man who had seen a mountain lion mama and her two cubs in the campground, not once but twice (validated by the camp host), and I’m happy to report that all I found was the track. Phew!

The wind was howling for the entire week, and it was hard to sit outside. My face is so wind-chapped just from hiking! The surrounding towns are really interesting, and we had a chance to visit White Oaks, which was a ghost town, but now has 15 permanent residents, including the delightful Barry and Dawnna, who we met up with twice. Lincoln is famous for Billy the Kid’s last jailing and subsequent escape, where he killed two deputies. We saw the grave of one of the deputies in White Oaks, which is a good 40 miles away. Carazizzo, just a few miles up the road from the campground, has a great gallery and art scene, and we really enjoyed wandering the streets and investigating the galleries.

More pictures to come, as they come off the big camera. All in all, a really enjoyable week before heading to Albuquerque, where just like last year, I arrive and then promptly fly out the next morning – this time to LA and then the following week to Mountain View.

Jesse traversing the lava like a pro.

Jesse traversing the lava like a pro.

IMG_4732

Selfie on the rocks

The mighty Beastie looking up from the trail.

The mighty Beastie looking up from the trail.

Mountain lion track in the mud after rains.

Mountain lion track in the mud after rains. (I think, this one is from my own tracking skills, but I did get shown the tracks earlier in the week). Feel free to confirm or deny 😉

IMG_4716

Nice… little deer enjoying the tender leaves until getting chased out by molten lava. This rivals the Ronald McDonald spaceship mural from Roswell for pure weirdness.