El Malpais

In ancient times, volcanoes covered this area with lava. On the west of the road, rivers of smooth pahoehoe lava and fields of jagged a’a lava created a rocky, black landscape that nevertheless managed to support plant life. On the east, tall, tan sandstone cliffs, interestingly eroded by the elements, reached for the sky. At The Narrows, the lava almost reached the base of the bluffs.

At another spot, an isolated group of sandstone bluffs overlooked fields of lava below. A spur off the main road led to the top of the cliff, where bands of younger people were enjoying the thrill of getting as close to the edge as they felt safe. That was closer than Dad and I wanted to be.

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