Well I guess I was confused. I didn’t realize there was an El Malpais National Monument and an El Malpais National Recreation Area. Turns out they are both kind of at the same place, not far from Grants, NM. So I arrived at the Visitor Center at the Nat. Monument after several hours of driving and was upset to hear I had gone way out of route to get to the Joe Steen Campground, and still had to go another 30 miles to reach it! I finally rolled in around 3:30 and the folks I’d “met” in the A-Frame Facebook group were waiting for me, and had even saved me a site! Linda McPhee was waving madly as I drove up….I don’t know how long she’d been sitting there. waiting! We hit it off right away and had a nice chat. Her hubby Gary greased my 7-way electric plug for me; it had gotten almost impossible to plug in and out, and that day I never got a good enough connection for the right taillite to work. But that grease fixed everything right up; thank you Gary! Here’s a photo of their Chalet A-Frame camper….it’s 6′ longer than mine plus has the nice dormer which means they can actually stand up and cook!
They left the next morning and I went sightseeing around the park. New Mexico’s largest natural arch is only 1/4 mile walk from the parking area. I tried but I couldn’t make it the whole way so this photo is the best I could do……it sort of “suggests” there’s an arch up ahead somewhere, will that do?
It was really nice to be among pinnacles again and I really enjoyed the drive around the park. There’s a sandstone overlook that I went to and along the way a woman hiker stopped me and asked which way the campground was. She’d gotten separted from her boyfriend but didn’t want to take the long way back via the road. So I told her the direction to take and she set out across the desert. I worried so much about her after that….that I should have made her take the water I had, and should have made her take my compass, and maybe some granola bars. Gosh I may as well be someone’s mother!! Anyway I guess she made it back just fine because I didn’t notice hordes of police and park rangers in the campground, and they would have been if she’d gotten lost.
This huge solar array in the campground was to provide 50 amp service for the Camp Hosts!
Here are more photos from El Malpais. I really liked it there…..it’s worth driving the 11 miles off I-40! (Just be sure to get off at the correct exit for the Rec Area and not the Nat. Monument!)