Continental Divide Trail #7: Lava Fields and Lava Cake

Gail & Porter hike CDT at Acoma Zuni Trail lava fieldGail and Porter hiked through the El Malpais National Monument in freezing rain. Malpais is Spanish for badlands, for the barren landscape of ancient volcanic lava. P hiked miles across lava fields



The going was tough, so Porter went on alone.



Gail at La Ventana Arch, El Malpais National Monument outside Grants, NM

We also hiked to see La Ventana Natural Arch.

Gail & Porter at La Ventana restaurant, Grants, NM






We celebrated at La Ventana restaurant in Grants, NM with margaritas, dinner, and lava cake! Porter is a little the worse for wear from the past month’s challenges of terrain and weather, but his heart shines with happiness and love for this glorious trail.

Amber wearing her crown of raffle tickets before diving into a brownie sundae at CDT Trail Days and Kick Off, Silver City, NM

Amber, still wearing her halo of raffle tickets from the CDT Trail Days and Kick Off, drinks a beer and gets ready to dive two-handed and two-spooned into her hot fudge brownie sundae.


20 comments on “Continental Divide Trail #7: Lava Fields and Lava Cake

  1. The photo of the ancient volcanic lava is amazing. (And the lava cake sounds yummy!) Meanwhile, I love keeping up with your adventures! The posts are nothing-less-than inspiring!

  2. I like Amber’s pictures the most. It reminds me that we all have the playful child in us.
    I have to admit that your adventure always triggers in me a lot of thoughts and ideas about work, life goals, partnership. Thank you for bringing it all up. Keep posting! Looking forward to see you back in Boulder.

    • Nora, your reply warms our hearts! Amber feels her job is to help us keep our sense of humor and remember this is all for fun, LOL! We look forward to seeing you and Dan when we get back to Boulder in the fall, too.

  3. Thanks for your posts! Lots of fun to see what it is like and how you both feel. Your recent post reminded me of Opie
    Dildock pass on all the Lava in the Oregon PCT. It’s amazing how that lava looks even after hundreds, thousands of years.
    We’ve had two days of rain here-a rainy spring for western CO. Looking forward to May hiking.

    • Yes, Mary, the NM lava reminded us of hiking on the Oregon PCT lava too! The El Malpais lava here in NM seemed a lot rougher and harder to navigate, though.

  4. It’s interesting to hear about your adventures and see the photographs. Is your meditation retreat influenced by you being in parallel along the journey yet not together on the trail?

    • Jean, absolutely, it is. Our respective journeys are deeply interior in their own ways. And when we’re together for Porter’s resupply, laundry, route-study, dinner, etc., we have a flurry of logistical activity that keeps us grounded. You remind me that responding to your great question might make an interesting blog post.

  5. Porter’s heart literally shines in the top picture. I’m sure your presence made it even brighter. I like your smiles when you hike together. Lava fields and lava cake -themes of metamorphosis. A transformative trip! Much love to you all.

    • So true, Kathleen! Early this morning I left Porter in the pouring rain for a 2,000-foot climb near Mt.Taylor outside of Grants. My heart went out to him, but he was ready–handmade raingear, handmade pogies, and all. After I drove to Albuquerque where I’ll be while he hikes the next 6 days to Cuba, I took a 3-mile walk in the pouring rain in sympathy. XO

  6. Hi Gail and Porter: Glad that you saw the big La Ventana Arch! I think you were lucky to hike the lava in the cold and rain. When we were there we were constantly watching out for rattlers and giving them room to escape from us before we built the trail markers over the lava .I am not a fan of rattlers! Wow! Porter is really making good time and Gail is giving him a good time! Best to you two. Keep the reports coming! Pat

    • Pat, thanks so much for your heads-up not to miss the La Ventana Arch–it’s spectacular! We thought the cairns marking the trail through the lava were vital so we’re thrilled to know that was your doing! I can see where rattlers would have a field day, as it were, through there, yikes! Thanks for all your great trail work!

    • We’re in a rough patch this morning, Jerrie. Porter got caught in a snowstorm in the mountains last night, sleeping bag all wet, considering options. Please keep him in your heart.

  7. So glad to see you two enjoying a lovely meal including Lava cake! The bad lands terrain reminds me of the lava fields on the Big Island, near Kona. Eventually, they become very fertile fodder for follage and fawna. Ha Hope you are giggling Gail, I love reading your posts and hope that all is well. I now have a titanium knee and ceramic/titanium hip to boot! It’s the beginning of a new bionic era, eh! Hope Porter is breaking through, it’s sometimes difficult to overcome the taxing challenges on the body. I know he will, with you and Amber cheering him on. Keep up the great photo’s and updates. We love hearing from you! Hugs, Andrea and Del and your Aqua aerobics friends from the pool 🙂

    • Congratulations on getting your new ceramic/titanium hip to go with your titanium knee, Andrea! You must be so glad to have your hip replacement done. No doubt you’ll recover quickly, in light of your great attitude and following doctor’s orders. Hugs to you and our Aqua group!

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