Out West Vacation 2010: El Malpais

Vacation Journal:  So, on into New Mexico to El Malpais (or “the badlands” in Spanish) National Monument. We went here because my husband had heard that it was a really primitive, remote place where we could “explore” a primitive cave, one that had no tours or anything like that.

I was a little iffy on that proposition, but hey – did I really have a choice?

El MalpaisYes, the sky was looking pretty threatening, but on we drove. El Malpais was a good example of the national parks out here – they’re big. I expect to enter a park, drive maybe a couple hundred feet to the visitor station, and then be there. No such luck. We drove maybe 15 miles into the park before encountering the ranger station, and it was then about 20 more miles until we got to the cave in question.

We finally made it there, and yep – primitive was a good way to describe it:

El MalpaisI ask you:  how excited would you be to climb down and explore that? By this time, it had rained already and the rocks were wet to boot.

So, two family members were excited about doing this.

El Malpais

The others, not so much. But we all managed to go at least a bit of the way into the cave (2 went further). The other 3 of us clambered back out and ran through the rain back to the vehicle (the kids splashing mud on light-colored clothing as they went; the stains remain as a reminder of the day).

After about 30 minutes, the rain appeared to be a given for the foreseeable future, so we drove on towards Santa Fe, where we would spend the night.

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