One thing that has been really cool about the western side of the country is something called BLM or Bureau of Land Management.
(Cody, you’ve been telling me about this. They are pretty awesome.)
From their website: “The Bureau of Land Management’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.”
Essentially, there are a ton of open lands around the US that belong to the people. Many can be camped on, hiked, or used for mountain biking, ATVs, etc.
Many of these are interesting places that are preserved like a State Park.
This is one area our government has got it right.
Today we visited one of those called Valley of Fires (plural, there is another that is singular in a different state).
Before I go there…
We have some really cool neighbors at this campground. They are retired but drive around the country and volunteer at different state and national parks.
As such, they had the low down on some really cool places in the area and around the country.
Coincidentally, they had the same brand camper as us, a Florida license plate and Crystal River/Homosassa was one of the places they had applied to volunteer. Small world.
Valley of Fires was one of their recommendations.
Valley of Fires
5,000 years ago lava emerged and filled up this valley with liquid hot magma.
The photos don’t do it justice as to just how vast it was but here they are anyway.
If you look at the details in the background, you might be able to see the scale.
I should also mention that those nice neighbors also have an incredibly playful and lovable puppy named Emma.
Harper and Emma squeal for each other every time their eyes meet.
They also have a tortoise named Zippy. He only comes out on hot days.
Low Rider wanted to charge at him but Zippy ain’t scared. That turtle charged back and stuck its head through the cage.
America the Beautiful Pass
On the way back we decided to go back to White Sands National Park for a picnic dinner and some redneck sledding.
When we came over the weekend, they had run out of America the Beautiful National Park Passes and we needed to purchase ours before our next stop.
Apparently they all accept them but all parks don’t always sell them.
Plus the kids really liked playing in the cold, corse sand.
Think miles of play sand without the cat pee. (cats love to pee in sand boxes. That’s a fact. Google it.)
Low Rider even got to come and rescue our toes from the sand by digging them free.