Camping in the Snowies

Camping in the Snowies

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Points South: New Mexico to Arizona

After leaving Ojo Caliente, we headed west to Los Alamos and Jemez Springs through wooded mountains. A stop for a few groceries in Los Alamos and then west again. We have to be escorted through the sensitive areas of Los Alamos and were warned not to stop or take pictures! Up and up on narrow winding roads until we reach the caldera.

Another sharp curve and down we go to the Jemez Springs area, stopping at the Jemez Indian Reservation information center. Across the highway were food stalls offering Indian Bread and other foods and crafts. We would stop and sample but had our hearts set on stopping at thr original Range Cafe in Bernallilo. If you have a chance stop at one of the three Range Cafés in Albuquerque. 
Our destination is the Joe Skeen BLM campground (free) at the El Malpais National Monument.
The campsite we chose was on a bluff overlooking the lava fields of El Malpais. It came with a view and  wonderful sunsets but no hookups. Well, it is free after all. 

The rules. The campground host offered these to Dave as he was getting ready to pull Luci up the hill to our site.
Also seen at Joe Skeen were lots of black wooly caterpillars, pretty flowers, and birds.

And a shrub with what looks like fruit but the berries were empty except for some white pith. I didn't try a taste.

The next day we made a trip over to the Acoma Pueblo east of El Malpais, stopping at an overlook to take a picture of the Acoma Mesa. 

High and dry, the People made this their home. They raised crops of corn and beans and squash on the desert floor. Everything needed was brought up stone stairways. Their pueblos were constructed of sandstone of two or three stories. The bottom story had no door or window and was entered from above. This was used for storage. The top story was the living quarters. It got the most light in winter and caught the breezes in summer. Piñon pine was used for cooking and cedar for heating. Dome like ovens baked bread and meats retaining even heat after a fire was lit inside and let burn down, the coals raked out, whatever was to be cooked was inserted, the opening sealed and then left to roast all day like a slow cooker we use today. 
This was an interesting guided tour by a knowledgeable Acoma woman (Big Sun, Little Eagle clan). 
After the tour Dave and I had great posole soup and green chili stew in the Acoma Cafe. This reservation museum is worth a look, showing the history of these people and their pottery craft. The pueblo tour is also a must. 

Back at El Malpais, we drove to an area called Lava Falls for a hike of one mile on a loop through the lava fields following rock cairns as guides to denote the path. 
We were glad for sturdy shoes and legs on this rugged and uneven hike. There was plenty of warning befor the hike of the conditions we would encounter. 
Back at camp, we watched hummingbirds, towhees, sparrows, and jays. The campground was quiet. We didn't see any of the elk that were reported to be nearby but it was hunting season so not surprised. 
Our visit to the east side of this unusual area culminated in a trip to the west side and to El Morro National National Monument which has a register cliff sort of like the one near Gurnsey WY but with much older signatures from Spanish conquerors and early white settlers plus petroglyphs from earlier visitors. They visited this bluff because it had water from a spring at the base of the bluff. Even a camel train was brought in as a trial to see if they would be better pack animals for building roads. This did not work and the camels were loosed in the desert and not seen again.
West again we go and about lunch time, we stop at the Arizona border for lunch and a snap of rhe welcome sign. 
Now in Arizona, we are not on Daylight Saving time. The sun comes up pretty early in our nice campsite at Fools Hollow State Park in Show Low. Yes, Main Street is called Deuce of Clubs. 
Laundry and grocery shopping and good showers are in the plan. Lots of skinks and birds to watch. I see my first tufted titmouse! 

1 comment:

  1. I think the "berries" are galls ... on a scrub oak. Nice photos -- bring back good memories.