South of Grants, the old McCarty flow spills along the valley floor and coats everything in the black popcorn that is death to all who pass on pads, paws or claws. We found ourselves in the nearly empty Joe Skeen Campground. perched high above the flow. Subject to stiff winds and snow flurries, we lived, loved and ate well in our Black Rock above the black rock.
I could tell from the angry Mandarin din of an approaching Chinese housewife, my Fortress of Solitude was no more. As I clambered downslope, I paused long enough to glance from where we had come. As the snow of Mt. Taylor glowed on the northern horizon, I realized our trail was turning south, into the Chihuahuan Desert, and its all too thorny familiarity.