|El Calderon, part of El Malpais|
Today was my last day in full-fledged denial mode.
I'd heard about the famous badlands near Grants, New Mexico, and decided to stop in, since I hadn't planned to drive too far today.
It was worth the stop. I didn't get to hike on the famous lava rocks, which, I am told, seem otherworldly - by the time I got to that end of the park, the wind was cold and I didn't want to venture too far from the camper. But I did spend a couple of hours hiking part of the El Calderon trail, on the west side of the park. It was a beautiful three mile trek. The temp was in the upper 40's, but the sun was bright, and I had dressed properly for the walk, so I wasn't cold. Not surprisingly, I didn't see another soul on the trail, except for some park rangers at the very end of the walk. (They told me traffic will pick up considerably in March and April.)
I saw a lot of beautiful scenery, a cinder cone, a bat cave, a lava trench and several lava sinks, all left behind as lava poured across the land some 115,000 years ago. It was quiet, the only sound that of my boots crunching across the snow and gravel. (and I wonder why I didn't see any wildlife - they heard me coming a mile before I got there...)
For what will probably be the last time for a while, I was able to stop, breathe and relax. Thank God for respites from reality.