It’s still August 14, since after leaving Lobo Canyon (around 1:00pm) I stopped at La Ventana, which was along the drive back to my campground.
You may recall that I’d seen La Ventana from across the grand curve when I’d hiked the Narrows Rim Trail. This was my chance to get up-close-and-personal.
As a reminder, here’s a panoramic shot of La Ventana along the grand curve. It’s on the far left.
[As always, click on the picture for the full-size version.]
There’s a small parking lot (with a picnic area where I ate lunch) and a short path to near the base of La Ventana. Here’s what you see at the end of the path.
Now, on the right-hand side down there was a sign prohibiting entrance—they’re trying to let the vegetation grow back. But back along the path to the left, there was no sign and a gap in the fence. And I wanted to do more . . .
Bushwhacking my way up I found an old path. From there I was able to look across the grand curve to see how far I’d gone when I did the Narrows Rim hike
I’ve marked with an arrow how far I went (this is after the official trail ended at the promontory at the far right).
The old path kept climbing. Here’s a shot partway up. I had to place myself carefully to make sure that the sun was behind the arch.
Even farther up I managed to get right below the arch of La Ventana, and again positioned myself to block the sun. I rather like this picture.
Of course, at that point one could get behind the arch, so here’s what that looked like.
At the very back of the arch area was a small pool of water that I guess was being filled by the occasional monsoon rains, and all of the shade and coolness kept it from evaporating.
From behind the arch it was fun to take a few “gap” pictures.
Here’s a view from way on the left (north) looking across the grand curve.
The arch frames the picture on the left and a large rock frames it on the right.
Looking across to the south was a nice view of Mt. Taylor.
And here I am under the arch, with the picture taken from near the pool of water.
Finally, let me end with a picture of the promontory across the grand curve, with a little bit of the base of the arch helping to frame the picture.
On my way back down I followed the old path the whole way and found where it “officially” rejoined the main trail. It was unmarked but still visible if you knew what to look for. I suspect use of the trail was being discouraged, but not actually prohibited.
That was my last day at El Malpais, so in my next blog entry, somewhere else!