Desert landscape.
Today’s trek to El Malpais National Monument was decent. I let myself sleep in a little, since I knew I had a lot of easy road-walking today. No sense getting up when it was freezing, either.

The first several miles followed the same dirt jeep road as yesterday, with a few sandy spots. But it mostly was easy walking. In the late morning, I hit Hwy. 117, which runs through reservation land and El Malpais. The Mumms had stashed another gallon of water here, although it was in an established water cache and didn’t have my name on it. So another hiker had taken a lot of it. But that was OK, as I wasn’t low on water.

Making My Way to El Malpais

The weather was weird today, featuring both a bright, hot sun and clouds. At one point it began to sprinkle. It just kept changing.

While I can’t say the highway seemed busy, I counted cars for a while. Every one to two minutes, another vehicle passed. I Natural stone arch.took a lunch break at a place called The Narrows. There’s a great hike there, but it was nearly 10 miles (16.1 km) out and back, which I clearly had no time for. Plus, who wants to do that with a heavy pack?!

In the early afternoon I hit La Ventana, a natural stone arch. That trail was very short, so I hid my pack and hiked out. It was pretty cool. From La Ventana, I passed numerous beautiful rock formations, plus the area’s famous lava fields. In one spot, there was a memorial to a 4-year-old girl. Sad.

Day Is Done

I aimed to finish at this free campground, which I reached around 5 p.m. Unfortunately it was uphill, and when I got there it Stone formation along a highway.appeared that all of the sites were taken. I asked two men if they knew if there was any open space, and one guy offered to let me camp on their site, which was spacious. How kind!

The couple was from Minnesota – what a coincidence – and they later invited me over for drinks. We had a nice chat. Looking forward to reaching Grants tomorrow!


Today’s Miles: 22.4 (36.1 km)
CDT Miles to Date: 462.3 (744 km)
CDT Miles to Go: 2,637.7 (4,245 km)

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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