|Bus departs for Petroglyph National Monument at Boca Negra at 8:00 AM. Petroglyph National Monument protects a variety of cultural and natural resources, including volcanos, archeological sites and an estimated 20,000 carved images. Many of the images are recognizable as animals, people, brands and crosses, others are more complex. These images are inseparable from the cultural landscape, the spirits of the people who created, and who appreciate them.|
Afterwards, bus continues to Valley of Fires Recreation Area with a stop in Socorro, NM to pick up boxed lunches at El Camino Restaurant. Valley of Fires Recreation Area is located immediately adjacent to the Malpais Lava Flow.
Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin, filling the basin with molten rock. The resulting lava flow is four to six miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles.
The lava flow is considered to be one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States.
From a distance, Valley of Fires appears as barren rock, but when you walk through the nature trail there are many varieties of flowers, cactus, trees and bushes typical of the Chihuahuan Desert.
Animals living there include bats, roadrunners, quail, cottontails, mule deer, barberry sheep, and lizards.
It's also a virtual birdwatcher's paradise with great horned owls, burrowing owls, buzzards, hawks, and gnat catchers.