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BLM Campground, El Malpais National Conservation Area, Grants NM

Camped at BLM Campground, El Malpais National Conservation Area, Grants NM, March 24, 2011
Camped at BLM Campground, El Malpais National Conservation Area, Grants NM, March 24, 2011

El Malpais National Conservation Area

El Malpais National Conservation Area and the adjoining El Malpais National Monument are located a few miles south of Grants, New Mexico.

Here's an excerpt from the BLM website description of the El Malpais National Conservation Area

The El Malpais National Conservation Area was established in 1987 and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The adjoining El Malpais National Monument was also established at the same time and is managed by the National Park Service. The 263,000 acre NCA includes two wilderness areas — West Malpais and Cebolla — covering almost 100,000 acres.

El Malpais translates to "the badlands" in Spanish and is pronounced Mal-(rhymes with wall)-pie-ees. El Malpais NCA was established to protect nationally significant geological, archaeological, ecological, cultural, scenic, scientific, and wilderness resources surrounding the Grants Lava Flows.

In addition to the two wilderness areas, the NCA includes dramatic sandstone cliffs, canyons, La Ventana Natural Arch, the Chain of Craters Back Country Byway and the Narrows Picnic Area. There are many opportunities for photography, hiking, camping and wildlife viewing within this unique NCA.

For more than 10,000 years people have interacted with the El Malpais landscape. Historic and prehistoric sites provide connections to past times. More than mere artifacts, these cultural resources are kept alive by the spiritual and physical presence of contemporary Indian groups, including the Puebloan peoples of Acoma, Laguna and Zuni, and the Ramah Navajo. These tribes continue their ancestral uses of El Malpais including gathering plant materials, paying respect, and renewing ties.

BLM Campground, El Malpais National Conservation Area, Grants NM

Nights I've camped here

Rice Toss

After the dinner our hosts conducted us to the beach. Among the presents was a large supply rice for the fleet. It was put up in straw sacks or bales containing about 125 pounds each. By the pile stood a company of athletes or gymnasts chosen from the peasantry for their strength and size and trained for the service and entertainment of the court. At a signal from their leader, who was himself a giant of muscle and fat, a sort of human Jumbo, they began transporting the rice to the boats. It was more frolic than work. Some of thembore a bale on each hand above their heads, some would carry two laid crosswise on the shoulders and head, while others performed dextrous feats of tossing, catching, balancing them, or turning somersaults with them. I saw one nimble Titan fasten his talons in a sack, throw it down on the sand still keeping his hold, turn a somersault over it, throw it over him as he revolved, and come down sitting on the beach with the sack in his lap. Beat that who can. If you imagine it "as easy as preaching," try it the next time in a gymnasium. But let me advise you, first make your will.

The Logbook of the Captains Clerk, John J. Sewell, Lakeside Press, 1995 pg 256

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