Sunday, September 28, 2008
Valley of Fires
Drove to Alamogordo to visit the New Mexico Museum of Space History. The White Sands Missile Test Range has played a major part in the development of our space program. After WW-II, the leading German missile scientists, like Werner Von Braun, were brought here to work on the American program. The site of the first nuclear test, the Trinity Site, is nearby. Later in the day we continued to our destination. The Valley of Fires Recreation Area near Carrizozo, NM. “As you look west from the campground the Malpais (Spanish for bad land) dominates the view of the Tularosa Valley. The valley was covered by lava spewing from volcanic vents on at least two occasions , which flowed south along the valley floor for 44 miles. As the molten lava flowed southward, it covered the original valley floor of gypsum and stream gravel. The lava would surround areas of higher ground. These islands of older rock are called kipukas. The campground is on a kipuka made of sandstone. The lava covers over 125 square miles and is more than 160’ deep at the center”. The best feature ,from our perspective, is the ¾ mile raised and paved, nature trail that winds through the lava field. There is a printed guide map that discusses various features at 14 stations. The three of us thoroughly enjoyed the walk. Later we read our books and enjoyed another wonderful day. It’s starting to cool off. Carol, who gets very cold very quickly, has changed from shorts to “longs” as she sometimes refers to them. An added bonus. Today was the annual “camper appreciation day”. Free camping for everyone. Can’t beat that!!.