Nevada to New Mexico: Petrified Forest, El Morro, and El Malpais
The last day of March, we headed out of Las Vegas early heading toward New Mexico. We hit traffic when we crossed the Hoover dam. The Hoover Dam National Historic Site has tours, but we couldn't find good RV parking so we continued down the road.
Chloride, Arizona
The highlight of the day was a small town called Chloride, Arizona between Boulder City, Nevada and Kingman, Arizona on Highway 93. The town was founded in 1862 with the discovery of silver. The popular reached 2000 in the early 1900s. Known for its folk art, we enjoyed the mile long, gravel road drive out to some rock painting done in the 1960s and 1970s. The murals were started in 1966 by well-known artist Roy Purcell while he prospected in the area. On the way back through toward we spent some time exploring a cute jewelry shop.

Petrified Forest National Park
We spent the night in Meteor Crater City, then headed to Petrified Forest National Park. We stopped at the Painted Desert visitor center and left the RV. This park is full of interesting sights including natural wonders, petrified wood, and Indian ruins. We were disappointed that many of the best petroglyph areas are restricted to special tours. We'll have to plan ahead next time to get a pass.
The picture on the left shows the Blue Mesa overlook. We didn't have time to hike down into the valley, but it looked like fun. The picture in the center below shows us next to a house made from petrified wood. This rock is formed over many years as silica-bearing water seeps into logs. The silica slowly replaces the wood fiber and forms a type of quartz.

El Malpais
We spent the night at a cute campground between El Morro and El Malpais National Monument. This area is beautiful. We had a great view of the mountain and were surrounded by trees. We woke up the next morning to a blanket of snow.
El Malpais is a volcanic area formed by a series of eruptions 115,000 years ago. The park contains lava tubes, caves, and crater, but we didn't have a lot of time to explore. We took a hike in the snow to a cave overlook, but decided it might get slippery climbing down to the entrance.
We particularly enjoyed talking with the ranger at the park visitor center who provided a history of the area. We were fascinated by the stories of Billy the Kid and the possible location of the Hole in the Wall. We need to come back again and do more exploring.

El Morrow
Inspiration Rock is a soft sandstone monolith at El Morro National Monument. This 200 foot monolith is covered with hundreds of inscriptions (see 1709 inscription above) from throughout history. The monument includes ancient petroglyphs and Pueblo Indian ruins. The snow quickly melted, but the hike to the top of the monolith was closed because of ice. We'll have to save that for another time.
The drive to Santa Fe was snowy and windy. We were happy when we arrived in Santa Fe to a nice greeting at the RV park.

Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 7/01.
Updated 5/02.
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