One would think, with the name being Valley of Fires, that just maybe it would be a tad bit on the warm side – well maybe thousands of years ago, when the lava was flowing red hot it was! Anyway, Valley of Fires is a very quiet and serene place to just kick back and relax a few days, and since leaving Elephant Butte last week, that is exactly what we have been doing. If you want to know what a person hard of hearing hears, come to this place – not a sound anywhere, and the views for miles out onto the lava flows are wonderful, as are the well maintained trails throughout the park.
We have thoroughly enjoyed our week here hiking the trails, geocaching, and just some down time to chill out – literally with temperatures at night sometimes down to 17 degrees – we haven’t done a good job of following our 68 degrees, but we have pretty much figured out how to live it and enjoy what we have.
The BLM campground is a good one ($18.00 a night with senior pass $9.00) with very nice new-looking and very clean bathrooms with large shower stalls. There are 14 good sized electrical sites here, most of them aren’t level so you need blocking to drive up on the low side.
There is a paved path through a portion of the lava fields, with information placed periodically to let you know the how and why of this ancient lava flow – very informative. We walk the 2/3 mile trail, at least once daily with Calle – she loves it. It is permissible to go off the path and explore more if you like, but we try to keep off the lava flow because parts can be as sharp as glass for her pads. This lava flow happened some 5000 years ago; Little Black Peak erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin four to six miles wide and 160 feet thick. It’s considered one of the youngest flows in the US.
It seems everywhere we go, we have questions about what we observe, and we are really appreciating the information made available. As you will see in some of the pictures below, we found a fence post and barbed wire out in the middle of some of the lava flow, or at least it looks like the fence and wire was there first, but that is highly unlikely since the lava flow is any where between 3000 and 5000 years old – interesting anyway. What I wonder about is the lava appears to wrap around the fence post and barbed wire going through the lava. Now how do you figure that. I don’t know but sure made me wonder!