El Malpais

April 10, 2022  •  5 Comments

It was a bit like visiting an old friend upon arriving at El Malpais National Monument near Grants, New Mexico last week.  During his time working at the Bureau of Land Management in Albuquerque during college, Fred walked all over the Sandstone Bluff area, and surveyed roads and hiking trails.  In October of 1994, we walked the Zuni-Acoma trail with our friend, Robert, across a sea of black lava that seems to stretch forever. The image below shows the mass of it, deposited by an eruption from nearby Mt. Taylor.  To walk that particular trail, one needs a vehicle on each end of the trail.  Robert's wife, Ingrid, was kind enough to meet us on the other side to ferry us back to our vehicle.  

Our trip this week just included exploration of the Sandstone Bluff area, because it was also a test of the real-time range of our electric Chevy Bolt. Going to La Ventanna Arch might have exceeded our range, for returning to Santa Fe without stopping to charge.  But we enjoyed walking all over the rock, exploring the folds and colors of the sandstone.  Although some formations had calved or lost pieces, much was the same.  


The sandstone is a brilliant counterpoint to the lava, and the colors are so intense that on a sunny day, which it was, it feels like it is burning your retinas!


The oranges, rust, ochre, pink, and red are stunning.


While I was desperately hoping that some of the tinajas, or stone basins, would be holding water, not a drop was to be found.  Just grains of sand and gravel. Junipers hang on for dear life.



Although the wind was howling and I was practically eating my hair while shooting, we found a protected area to do a product shoot with several of Fred and his rugs.  Those photographs will be featured next week.  


Thanks to Jean and Sam, Barbara F. R., Jim W., Lisa S., Marilyn, Christina, Steve, and Char for commenting this week!  I hope each of you is able to explore the wealth of spring blossoms, despite the windy days.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


Steve Immel(non-registered)
I'm so glad to see that you're back on the road. Your tour of El Malpais gives me wanderlust in a big way. We've been there exactly once and that was long ago and far away. I hadn't remembered that the colors were so vivid and the sky so blue. Time to return. I love the vista from atop one of the rock formations. I'm also a fan of the gnarly and tenacious juniper. And the sandstone is a wonderful background for Fred's rug.

A breath of fresh air, Daryl. Thanks for it.
Next time you’re in the area we want to meet for lunch!!!
Oh New Mexico, the beautiful, in all the different landscapes. I love the way you caught El Malpais. Yes, I remember you, Fred and Robert hiking across on the Zuni-Acoma trail about 18 (oh my) years ago.
Connie Taylor(non-registered)
Outstanding…both of you standing out in the wind tethered by an invisible electric pulse, carefully calculated before departure. The color, formations and struggling juniper painted a lovely image. And I must add, you have lived so responsibly on this planet, you deserve to see the beauty in all things.
Loved the pictures...made me want to explore the trails again! Thanks for taking us along on your trip.
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