Fantastic day! Last night after dinner it looked stormy so I set up my tent for the first time on this trip. That's when I discovered the cactus in my camp - lol. Only a light sprinkle but of coarse when I started to break camp it started raining. I did what any good thru-hiker would do; rolled over an slept a few more hours! Started out again at 10:30am along the fantastic views from the Rim Trail. Jagged rock cliffs and views of the ocean of lava fields spread out below me.
Following the rim for four miles you come to a magnificent view of La Ventana Natural Rock Arch. Then the real fun begins! First a steep rock scramble with full backpack off the rim down to the tourist spot. Then a fantastic traverse of the Zuni Acoma route across the El Malpais lava fields. Eight miles of climbing, scrambling, skidding, cursing, stumbling, and falling over loose lava rocks, oceans of lava tubes, domes, fissures, caves, you name it. Up and down huge lava flows with cracks that you had to hop over that were 10-20 feet deep. No real trail but a rock cairn every 20-30 feet. And believe me you needed them. Made from the same lava rocks they blend in and this place is a maze. A very cool area but after 8 miles my feet were ready to be done with it. Passed a sign that said trail magic 3 miles ahead. I'm camping at 4 miles with no sign of it. Sad to have missed it and hope I have enough water since I had expected to get some there. A great day!