Posted on Sun, 20-Nov-2016Thu, 15-Dec-2016 by HenryPecos, El Morro, El Malpais National Monuments: New Mexico Pecos National Monument added to our knowledge of ancient cultures – especially with their fabulous pottery display. A gorgeous day to experience the plateau and structures. So many layers of history Facsinating kivas. We also toured the civil war site as part of the monument and noted how the scenery was not exactly the same as today with all the farms having cleared the land. We appreciated the re-purposing of the existing building. A close up photo of the original building. El Morro means the headland and this is the landmark travelers aimed towards in their desert crossings. It became a place to leave your mark – to tell part of your story. Most were very anxious to reach this water supply – we enjoyed the reflection and serenity. Settlers, conquistadors, friars – so many passed this way and had remarkable stories to tell. We thought this looked like a bottle of wine! We walked to the top of the rock – this overlooks a box canyon with amazing goelogy. It was windy but we appreciated the sculpting effects like this amazing character pine. Contemplating all that have enjoyed this scene. CCC workers carved these stairs into the rock. We thought we had been transported to Greek Isles. Ruins on the top that have been stabilized and preserved. Near by El Malpais we found this great BLM campground which we stayed for a few nights. The lava flows are what makes it the badlands! Imagine walking over miles of this uneven surface. We took the Rims Narrow Trail to the arch overlook – gorgeous vistas for the entire walk. We are thinking bear print – we saw several of these but no bear. Lots of animal tracks. On the south side of the park are these unmarked ruins. We camped at Apache Creek, Gila National Forest – we had this entire campground to ourselves. In the morning we saw 4 javalinas walking up the hill. We stopped at Catwalk for this hike into the canyon. It was originally water lines to a mine. The CCC turned that into a walkway and it has been maintained ever since. Part up the canyon is still closed due to a fire/flash flood. What better spot to have lunch? Gila Wilderness. Thank you Aldo Leopold for loving this area so much, that you spent your life working to preserve areas as wilderness for all those that came after you. We really appreciate it and have so enjoyed this opportunity to explore so many wilderness areas as well as other public lands.