Geology around Grants, New Mexico
May 5, 2007
We are staying in the Blue Spruce RV Park $13.50 for 50-amps, water & Cable TV with central dump. Blue Spruce is located on the south west corner of the I-40 exit 81 intersection.
In an earlier travel log we visited the Ice Cave & Bandera Crater along the western side of El Malpais National Monument. As you will recall it was all about volcano activity and what they left behind. In yet another Travel log we were traveling south on NM-117 along the eastern edge of El Malpais National Monument. During the segment covered in this travelogue we continued south on SR-117 after we exited El Malpais National Monuments south boundary. South of El Malpais we were on a grassy plain surrounded by volcanic mountains and sandstone cliffs. SR-117 ends when it terminates at it's intersection with SR-36. From that intersection we turned west on SR-36 to the small community of Fence Lake where SR-36 turns and heads north terminating when it intersects SR-53 between the small communities of Zuni and Ramah.
This travel log is along that same drive.
Scene from southeast corner of El Malpais National Monument south of Grants, New Mexico
Finally, the scenery changes on SR-117. Since we turned south on SR-117 from exit 89 on I-40 to this spot we were bounded on the east by huge sandstone cliffs and the west by an expansive lava flow that covered over 100 square miles of valley floor.
This is the scene as we worked our way south of El Malpais. While we saw several of these elk crossing signs we never did see any elk despite looking for them.
Cinder cone of ancient volcano near Fence Lake, New Mexico
By the time we approach Fence Lake, New Mexico on SR-36 we are entering the region containing a string of some 30-volcanic cones that generally stretch from north to south through here.
Community of Fence Lake, New Mexico
SR-36 turns north in Fence Lake. Not far north of Fence Lake we spotted this lone farmer who was tilling what looked to be around a thousand acres of crops that had not yet sprouted.
This was the only farming effort we saw in this area.
After leaving El Morro National Monument we headed north on SR-53 toward Grants and our motorhome. To get there we have to go over the Continental Divide and pass by Bandera Crater. That is Bandera with snow on it. It has been snowing on us all day. At lower elevations the snow was evaporating but above 8,000-feet it is sticking.
Mt Taylor north of Grants another extinct volcano
As we near our motorhome in Grants Mt. Taylor a 11,300' extinct volcano located northeast of Grants comes into view. Today's snow has covered the mountain above 8,000'.
Mike & Joyce Hendrix
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