El Malpais NM/El Morro NM 2003

Santa Barbara has a local holiday at the beginning of August, Fiesta. While I've been to fiesta a number of times, the company I work for is gracious enough to provide a company holiday. A three day weekend presents itself and, predictably, I find myself out of town. This year was a strong monsoon year throughout the southwest, making most places covered in rain. There was a corner of New Mexico, however, that was supposed to be dry (well, sort of). So I went to the Badlands of New Mexico. This whole area was a volcanic lava field. It's criscrossed by solidified lava flows, sharp rock, and sandstone outcroppings.

The first day I went to El Morro, "the rock". It's a large stone formation that rises out of the plains. People have been carving graffitti into it for centuries, all the way from Indian petroglyphs to the conquistadors and even US Army personnel. The pueblo on the top of the rock was long since abandoned, but still quite stunning.

The second day I went hiking across the lava flowsin El Malpais. After the rains subsided I did a short backpacking trip and camped solo amongst the lava flows. In the morning I hiked along a cinder cone. Quite relaxing. Not to mention I got to see lightning streak across the Mojave on my way back. Truly a unique time.

The Photographs

Photos were taken with my old Miranda camera. Several rolls of film were lost on this trip, propmting the assembly of the newer Minolta system. Two rolls of Velvia 50 were the only film that survived. Click on "Next" in the upper right to begin.

Some of my favorites include: