Tuesday, September 23, 2014

El Malpais & Chain of Craters Byway

The monsoons are still in full swing and prompted me to move off Forest Road 400. It's about 20 miles west of Grants on highway 53 and has a plethora of campspots, but it turns to gumbo when wet. I'm carrying less water these days to aid in Eggbert's agility but it means more tho't to running out.  

So I moved about 10 miles to a jeep trail off the Chain of Craters Backcountry Byway. It's west of The Divide and a tad drier. The Malpais is an irresistible hiking draw, but even a brief swarai (neon colors!) begs the idea of suiting up (note motorcycle sounds) in football gear. You'd think after 10,000 years the rocks 'd've settled into tight niches. No way! Every other step tips just enough to inspire the wire-walker armspread. I tried pretending I was drunk, but sans alcohol the challenge of continuously falling (mostly) forward while watching the scenery reel was just plain tedious. After a couple of slugs of gin I was able to discard my compulsion and settled in to an ennobled (and seated) state of admiration. I had this venerable alligator juniper for company.

The 'soons made rainbows every few miles. I trundled down Historic Route 66 at a leisurely 35 mph taking it all in before being forced onto the freeway at Mesita.

Maybe when we have brain implants we'll be able to "share" the experience. Something to look fwd to, eh?  

First day of Fall at 2,134m (7,000ft). 

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