Devils Playground at Bandera Crater
New Mexico: Grants, Ice Cave and Bandera Caldera
May 4, 2007.
We moved the motorhome to Grants on I-40 where we stopped in the Blue Spruce RV Park $13.50 for 50-amps, water & Cable TV with central dump. Not a fancy place but adequate for what we need and the price was right.
Continental Divide south of Grants New Mexico
We drove over the Continental Divide on SR-53 30-miles south of Grants, New Mexico and only a mile or so south of the Ice Cave and Bandera Caldera. Once we arrived we discovered that there was more to the Bandera Volcanic cone than just the Ice Cave and the volcanic cone. There was an interesting Old Time Trading Post and an area described as the "Devils Playground" created from the molton lava flowing from the Bandera Volcano.
Old Time Trading Post Ice Cave and Bandera Crater
The Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano is a private business. You can do both for $9 per-person. We did both and enjoyed both of them.
The Devils Playground was just thrown in. I think we enjoyed gawking at the Devils Playground area as much as peering down into the cinder cone of the now extinct Bandera Volcano.
Spatter Cone at Old Time Trading Post Ice Cave and Bandera Crater
This is a spatter cone. Spatter cones are formed when minor vents form in the molten lava. A surge of hot air/gasses rushes through the lava forming surface tubes and minor vents. When the hot air/gasses breaks through the surface, lava will splash out forming a type of blow hole that you see here.
Spatter cones were in an area defined as the Devils Playground. One thing for sure there was some awesome fireworks going on here at one time.
Devils playground at Old Time Trading Post Ice Cave and Bandera Crater
Early sheep herders called this area "devil's playground." This lava is very sharp, jagged, and makes good shelter for rattlesnakes. It is treacherous to walk in.
Devils Playground lava Old Time Trading Post Ice Cave and Bandera Crater
A closer look at "devil's playground" lava.
Lava Old Time Trading Post Ice Cave and Bandera Crater
There is a large area of this type of lava.
Juniper tree growing on lava flow at Bandera Volcano
Juniper tree growing on the lava flow at the Old Time Trading Post Ice Cave and Bandera Crater near Grants New Mexico.
It is hard to imagine how any plant can get a foot hold in this desolate place much less grow into a tree this size.
Mike & Joyce Hendrix
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