5/16, day 20, 23 miles
Okay 23 miles doesn’t seem like many miles after yesterday. Tell our feet that! The last 7.5 miles were the Acoma-Zuni Trail. More about that below. It was 7.5 miles of torturous lava beds. Hot, Dry, very interesting.
We ate lunch in a new picnic ground at the south end of The Narrows. The construction crews had already taken the picnic tables and the shade so we sat on rocks in the sun. We were envious of one young workers bottle of coke. A few miles later we stopped at Ventana Arch for pictures and a brief rest in the shade. A BLM worker offered us his water. The New Mexicans are treating us very well. Cars stop and offer water, rides, ask if we have broken down. Very hospitable people!
In mid-afternoon we arrived at the western end of the Acoma-Zuni Trail. The Acoma-Zuni Trail is a 700-year-old trading trail between the 2 Pueblan tribes. Coronado’s Conquistadors were in the area in 1540 and some may have been guided across the trail. It is a series of rock cairns across 3 different, overlapping lava flows. The trail is a series of rock cairns zigzagging across very rough lava terrain. Getting from one cairn to the next was difficult at times. It took us 4.5 hours to cross the 7.5 miles. It was dark when we got out. There was no place to camp except on lava chunks. We set up our tent along a walkway in a picnic area near no camping signs.
We were excited to see & use a trail that old.