Newly crowned, we depart Gallup on Hwy 602 which takes us through the Zuni Reservation. This will connect us to the 53, on our way to El Morro National Park. Research advised this is one of the most beautiful drives in all of New Mexico and it was spot on.
We planned to camp at El Morro RV and Campground which was listed on a gay camping website as it is owned by two lesbians. The link to the campground’s actual site gave no indication at all that it was gay so we figured it was just a family property that happened to be gay-owned; oh well, we’ll support our sisters. As we arrived, we were happy to see the entrance lined with rainbow flags, hmm, maybe this was gayer than we thought. There was no formal admittance office but we saw a sign advising to settle up in the café after you’ve found a space. We drove around the small grounds checking out the spaces and then parked at the Ancient Ways Café.
How refreshing to walk into the café and be greeted by a man with drop earrings and hair pulled up in barrettes. He said to pick any site we wanted even the rv sites with electricity as they had a lot of sites available that day. Choosing one tucked away with an awesome view of the mountains, we had the tent set up in a snap so we made our way back to the café for some lunch. The rustic café had a table-lined porch which was completely packed with local park workers so we chose a table inside. The gentleman we spoke to earlier came over and we talked about the park and the area. We noted that we were pleasantly surprised to see such gayness in the middle of a national park and he told us how the campground attracts a lot of the fairy community and in fact there was a huge week-long gathering nearby and we were certainly welcome to attend. He said that the couple just bought the property five years ago and they have slowly been making improvements.
Later that afternoon, we drove over to the El Morro National Monument. We talked to the ranger, Gayle and told her that we had bought the National Parks pass for our trip around the states. She said she had always wanted to do that and we said we wanted to do it now while we could still enjoy our great resources rather than wait until we get much older and could only enjoy the parks from their visitor centers.
The two-mile hike around the monument was fantastic. The first half mile is around the perimeter of Inscription Rock. There is a natural pool there that has served as a respite for traveling natives and Spaniards throughout time. These visitors have carved their signatures and petroglyphs into the bluff and these are now protected for our enjoyment. We decided to do the entire Headland Trail that took us to the top of the bluff, up to Atsinna, the Puebloan ruins. The trail to the top was definitely worth it, affording beautiful views of the area.
After the hike, we went to a small, local grocer and bought some Indian bread and supplies for dinner. We hit bed after the sun went down as it had been a long day.