"No, wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself."
Hello again! Well we have arrived in El Mirage, Arizona in one piece and without further incident. Thank you God!! We were a little nervous leaving Colorado Springs after having had yet another mechanical issue, but the BAT hung in there and took us safely to our destination.
Between Colorado Springs and El Mirage, we had a layover in New Mexico to break up the 12 hours of driving. I chose the above quote because while in New Mexico, we had a chance to visit a state park called "El Malpais" (which means "bad lands" in Spanish). What an unexpected delight! This park is basically is a combination of beautifully carved sandstone and lava fields. I know that sounds bizarre but it was gorgeous. We took a hike along the lava fields and witnessed cinder cones, lava sink holes, and lava "waterfalls". I would never have guessed something as destructive as lava could make such an interesting landscape. These lava flows go on for miles and miles and the highway (I-40 West) is cut right through some of them. Cool!
There are sandstone mesas all over the park and in some places nature has carved some interesting shapes out of them. In some places, there were "towers" that reminded me of the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon. In another place, there was the most beautiful natural arch. Steve and I arrived just as the sun was hitting this arch in such a way that it made the interior space glow like there was a huge candle inside. Our last stop in this park was to catch the overlook at The Bluffs. This is where we could see the extent of the range of the lava flow, which was unbelievably huge. I can only imagine how hot that lava must have been if it made the several mile trek from the volcano it emerged from to this park without cooling and hardening. Steve and I stood there and just took in the beauty that we were witnessing. Nature is just so magnificent and should be appreciated every chance we get. It does something so positive for the soul.
I would highly recommend, if you are ever in northwest New Mexico, that you make a stop at El Malpais. There are a ton of other beautiful places to visit in the area that we had the pleasure of seeing the last time we were in New Mexico (check out the New Mexico tab in our gallery). Albuquerque is a great town to visit too and there is just so much to do there that will entertain. Lots of history, beautiful places to hike and explore, and great food.
Speaking of food, Steve and I met up with a very dear friend who I haven't laid eyes on in some 20 years. Cynthia Ranke and I met at Family Camp back in 1983. Through the almost 20 years that Terry and I attended that camp, Cynthia was one of my cohorts in crime, along with Dave and Lorraine Keller. Gosh, the memories that I have of those lovely people just really warm my heart. Anyway, we met Cynthia for dinner and from the first moment that we were together, it was like no time had passed at all. She is still the same bubbly bundle of energy that she always was and such a delight. It was great to reconnect with her and hope to again when she is in Phoenix this winter.
So that takes us to Arizona, where we will be until April. As I mentioned in the past, we are work camping in a 55+ golf resort for the winter. Steve and I work 14 hours each week for the Activities Director and in exchange, we get a free campsite, our electric paid, and get to eat for free at the events we are working. So far, we have worked two events, both of which had wonderful bands. We are ticket takers and help to serve food so nothing too strenuous. There will be some 3,000 people here when the season is in full swing (January through March) so I am sure we will be hopping in the future, but so far so good. The resort has a wide assortment of things to do every day so boredom will not enter the picture this winter.
Ok, that's it for now. Take care everyone.
Lauren (and Steve too)