Sunday, February 3, 2013

El Malpais National Monument

Last night after work I packed up my car and headed north to Albuquerque. I spent the night in a hotel and met Robby and Mike for breakfast. After breakfast we went our separate ways with Robby and mike heading north to Colorado and me heading west to Grants and the El Malpais.

I stopped at the visitor center for some information and then headed out in overcast skies to go check out the national monument. My first stop was Sandstone Bluff Overlook.
Hiker on Sandstone Bluff photo HikeronBluff_zps9d29839c.jpg
There were great views of the lava flow below and a distant Mount Taylor.
Mount Taylor from Overlook photo MountTaylorFromSandstoneBluff_zps36a340e2.jpg
After leaving the overlook I noticed a dirt pull-off to the side of the road. I wanted to see what was there and so I parked and walked a short distance to the ruins of the old Garrett Homestead.

From the homestead I checked out the nearby El Malpais National Conservation Area and then returned to the national monument to hike the short, interpretive Lava Falls Trail. The trail which traversed the lava flow was interesting,
Lava Field photo lavafield_zps4ae00d90.jpg
but difficult to follow in places. It was marked by lava cairns.
Post Two photo posttwo_zps02416523.jpg
There were lots of interesting cracks in the lava.
Lava Crack photo lavacrack_zps19d67b35.jpg
Some of the cracks were quite deep and filled with snow and ice.
Eric on Lava photo Ericonlava_zpsbe47e4b0.jpg
As I hiked the trail I eventually came to Lava Falls itself, a "lava waterfall" which formed when hot, molten lava poured over a hardened, colled lava surface.
Lava Falls photo LavaFalls_zps77583348.jpg
Lone Pine photo lonetree_zps16857511.jpg

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