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We are currently on another long distance hike, and the third leg of our "triple crown", the Continental Divide Trail (the "CDT"). Come along with us if you can - if not in person then by following our grand adventure via our "posts from the trail".  Check out our Flickr Photos, which we'll update periodically, and see it through our eyes!

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"Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!" ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Journal June 29 Lava Rocks

After a couple miles of road walking we came to the trail head for the Acoma/Zuni trail. We followed this trail across the “El Malpais” (“badlands”) lava fields located in the National Monument of the same name.

The landscape is twisted and tortured. Young lava, laid down maybe no more than a few thousand years ago, the formations are rough edged and not yet eroded. The Acoma and Zuni pueblo people used routes that were probably established by their ancestors. Some rock cairns are thought to be a thousand years old; built, no doubt, by some sadistic chieftain who must have sent his people across it for punishment.

Crossing “El Malpais” was tedious and tiring. The jumble of lava rocks from various flows has left a confused landscape pocketed with holes, tubes, cracks, piles of rocks, sharp edges and loose ankle-busting pieces of lava.  Slow going, lava walking.  Not counting a long lunch break it took us almost 5 hours to cover the 7.5 mile trail.

It was a hot day, the sky was dimpled with a few clouds, including one thunder-booming storm cell which passed us by, but mostly the sun beat down upon us as we walked across the lava fields. The black rocks reflected back more heat than asphalt would, making the heat all-surrounding.

Leaving El Malpais we headed up Bonita canyon, low on water from the hot day. The valley is lush with abundant green grasses and short plants. Evidence of recent heavy rains abounds. Grazing has been absent, at least recently, through much of the valley. We stopped at a windmill about 3 miles up the valley for water. The stock tank is full. The water is generally clear; though filled with weeds, there’s not much algea. But the water from the pipe is better, as long as the wind blows the windmills pumps it out. We wait awhile for the infrequent light breeze to pump out several quarts and move on to get a couple more miles in.

By day’s end the lava fields occupied so much time we are left behind schedule for the day. We should still get into Grants tomorrow, but it’s not likely that we’ll make it in time for lunch.

Miles 14.5

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Flora & Fauna

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