Friday, February 18, 2011

Flashback Friday – Valley of the Fires, NM – 2004-2008

If you are ever traveling on US 380 east or west through New Mexico, watch out for the lava. All of a sudden the valley turns from the brushy desert to black frozen wavy shapes. The first time we came this way we were drawn into these formations and made a stop. Soon the Valley of the Fires became another of our favorite flashbacks. We’ve visited three or four times.  Why? Answer: Nice camping facilities. Beautiful views.  Interesting locale. 

The Valley of the Fires State Park and Recreation Area is Valley of the Fires State Park, Carrizozo, New Mexico 4 miles west of Carrizozo, New Mexico. The campsites there are on a hill, staggered so each one has a nice view overlooking the valley and surrounded by mountains in the distance.  Most have electrical hookups and a dump and water are available.  The park is small, 20 campsites, but we easily found a good spot each time we stopped. Just perching at our campsite, soaking up the 360 degree expanse and following the train circling through the valley was a satisfying attraction.

But we found much more. Add to the mix the established park trail that walks you through the lava field, providing information on the history of the valley and pointing out examples of nature along the way.  A part of what you learn on this short hike is that the lava field is 2-5 miles wide and 40 miles long and is thought to be 2000 years old.  IM000979Just a youngster as volcanic eruptions go.  The vegetation growing out of the lava is one of the fascinating features of this natural event.  Cacti, trees and wildflowers are popping up everywhere.  And there are lots of creatures flying and crawling around in their homes inside the black holes. 

Although the valley itself is enough reason to stop, we had fun doing our usual exploring in the vicinity also.  On our way west on 380 we had a good time in Lincoln revisiting the story of Billy the Kid and Pat Garret.  You can put yourself in the shoes of the outlaw at the courthouse that captures the jail cell  setting as well as the courtroom.  About 25 miles south on highway 54 from Carrizozo is Three Rivers Petroglyphs Recreation Site.  The thousands of pieces of prehistoric rock art at this site are amazing.  There are also the remains of the Mogollon village where the people who created the petroglyphs lived in 900 to 1400 AD.   Jerry and I inquired about the volunteer camp host at this park, considering that it would be another unique experience.  But that never worked into our schedule somehow.

Lastly, I have to mention the Four Winds Restaurant in Carrizozo, at the intersection of highways 380 and 54.  There’s room for rvs to park and they serve a tasty Mexican breakfast or lunch at a reasonable price.   We have stopped when we were camped down the road or as we were passing through with our 5th wheel and in Ferd. On another occasion Krissy and I were in the Jeep on our way to the petroglyphs on a mother/daughter trip.  She liked it too.

For now, I’ll end this recollection about Valley of the Fires. Even though I’ve left out some ingredients.  There’s a slide show below that gives samples of the area. Let me know if you were left hanging out there on a limb waiting for some tidbit of info. We are happy to share.

A thought on Flashback Friday: I’m finding these Flashback Friday posts bring back so many details from our years of wandering that I have trouble keeping the posts to a pleasantly-readable length.  Before starting this blog series I was concerned about how much I’d be able to recall.  Looks like the opposite will be my problem.  The process starts with Jerry and I talking about each of our memories on a certain place or event. Then I find a photo or two; and, sometimes, I Google a few details of the location or mileage.  Pretty soon the old brain is reeling with too much chatter.  I have to filter out what we most want to save from each RVing experience.  This is good for me.  Right?  I think so.  If nothing else, we’ll have these flashbacks when we lose that flashback capability. If you know what I mean.  Confused smile

Thanks for visiting Hurley Travels.  Talk to you later.


  1. Sheesh, hit a button and off went my comment, I am going to try again...I was looking at your Flashback Friday and reminded me of the drive from Bend over to Eugene, going through McKenzie Pass. A very large lava rock area through there, we were amazed. It even had a small rock building, looked like a castle and each window was pointed towards one of the peaks around there.

    Hugs, Sharon & Ron

  2. Sharon and Ron: Glad that our flashbacks are prompting you to have flashbacks. We haven't seen the McKenzie Pass. That will have to be added to our bucket list. Thanks.
    Nancy and Jerry


Hi: Thanks for your thoughts.