The Valley of Fires is a recreational area that provides access to the Carrizozo Malpais, a large lava flow.  The most recent information gathered suggests that the eruption date is 5200 +/- 700 years ago.  The area containing the flow is about 2 miles wide and 20 miles long.  It is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management and a clearly marked and easily navigated walk about 1.5 miles long was created for visitors to get up close to the formations.

One of the many interesting views here was the lava structure referred to as “ropey”.  It was formed when the lava began to flow, then cooled off at the base.  Then, like molasses, another layer flowed over that but wasn’t able to overrun the previous layer, cooled off, then another…and on and on.

Another amazing aspect of the lava flow is that incredibly beautiful and unique flora shoots up everywhere.  The juniper trees were spectacular with their twisted and gnarled trunks!  It is surreal to me that anything manages to break through even the smallest cracks in the lava to blossom and sprinkle the whole vista with pops of color to decorate the landscape!  So wondrous!

Because of the uncluttered vastness of the sky surrounding the malpais, the sunrises and sunsets are in clear view and quite remarkable.  The sunrise photos here barely scratch the surface of the actual breathtaking effect they provided.

I have included an unusually large number of photos this time as there were so many remarkable sites and I couldn’t bring myself to eliminate very many.  Please enjoy!

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