Nov 14, 2013

New Mexico's El Malpais National Monument and the Rest of Albuquerque

This will be the final post in my New Mexico series.

If you missed my other New Mexico posts, check them out first:
Albuquerque: Settling In and Driving the Turquoise Trail
A Day Trip to Santa Fe
Exploring Albuquerque and Afternoon Tea at St James Tearoom
- New Mexico's Acoma Pueblo and El Morro National Monument

After leaving El Morro, we drove back towards Grants and then on to El Malpais National Monument.

Beautiful sky along the drive!

El Malpais is known for its caving opportunities but since it was already late afternoon and we didn't have permits, we obviously didn't take part in the caves. Instead, we were mostly there to see some of the natural formations.

On this portion of the trip, we were honored by the presence of some wild and not-so-wildlife. This cow falls into the second category.

What you lookin' at? 

Our first stop was La Ventana Arch, which is located about 18 miles south of the highway. La Ventana is one of the largest sandstone arches in New Mexico, and we had it all to ourselves. There was absolutely no one there except for one family that was leaving just as we arrived.

A short trail leads up to a viewpoint, but you can't really get too close to the arch.

Besides the beauty of the arch, we saw some furry friends in the park. I loved this caterpillar. It's a fuzzball!

We drove back towards the highway and spotted some deer! Raisin Bread had been keeping his eyes peeled all trip to see wildlife. So cool!

Our last stop in the park was the Sandstone Cliffs. There were lots of places to walk and bounce around from points along the cliff. The weather was starting to turn, so Raisin Bread went off roaming on his own to try to get some shots of lightening.

Tadpoles were in full force in the pools on the top of the cliffs. I thought they were both cool and kind of gross, which is unusual for me.

There was one last place that we planned to go but we scrapped it after such a long day. We drove back to Albuquerque for dinner. 

Our day of disgusting food experiences continued with what was the second worst food we had during our trip. Sadie's is super famous and written up in all of the travel books. For me and Raisin Bread, it was absolutely awful. 

I ordered the chile relleno. The chiles were almost nonexistent and the batter was inedible because it was so overcooked. Raisin Bread ordered the pork chop, which was hard as a rock and extremely dry. The only thing that was edible were the sopaipillas. I highly recommend having an authentic New Mexican meal elsewhere! Barf.

Awful food from Sadie's

Our last day in New Mexico began with some bad news. We were booked on a hot air balloon flight for the morning, but it got cancelled due to the weather. It turned out to be fine for both of us because we wanted to sleep in and have a relaxing day. 

We started with a last yummy breakfast at the house with breakfast burritos, bacon and watermelon. 

Then we spent a good part of the afternoon at Betty's Bath and Day Spa with massages and relaxing in the hot tubs. We followed up with lunch at a Japanese restaurant, which I can't remember the name of, and ended our day of relaxation with a home-cooked meal. 

We had to say good-bye to Albuquerque the next morning, but not before a last stop at the Golden Crown! Thanks for the fun vacation, New Mexico! 

6230 Fourth Street NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107

1835 Candelaria Road NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107

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