During the first part of the morning, we simply drove around Los Alamos and looked at the fire damage from the out-of-control blaze that took place about a month ago. Although there was a fairly decent pattern to it all, there were some places where a house would be standing in the middle of a burnt area that just didn't make sense. About 300 houses burned in the fire and we saw many many places that were just completely leveled to the foundation and cars melted down into scrap metal that had been left in garages during the evacuation of the entire town. It was sad, especially knowing that the fire had been set on purpose as a "controlled burn."
We left Los Alamos and drove through the mountain range and over to see the largest caldera in the world. While craters are formed by impact, a caldera is formed by collapse of volcanic material. Anyway, it was about 10 miles across the short way, and the distance was deceiving while looking from one side to the other.
After this stop, we continued on to the soda dam. We climbed all over the thing, mainly because it's relatively easy and we didn't have the right gear for anything else. The hot sulfur springs there smelled kind of funny, but it was a fun time scurrying around the rocks and then hopping along the highway guardrail on the way back to the car.
Not having had our fill of hiking, we then travelled back up to near Los Alamos and to the overlook near White Rock. We hiked down the side of the hill and saw some people climbing on the hot cha-cha rocks (the high iron content really absorbs the heat), then headed back up the hill to the car and drove back to Mousers place to chill for awhile before the drive to the Albuquerque airport.
I did the drive to the airport while Mouser and Nichol nodded off occassionally and we managed to arrive in plenty of time. When I checked in, they said it was possible for me to get an earlier flight, so I ended up leaving at very nearly the same time as Nichol. We all said our goodbyes and chatted for just awhile longer, then we were on our seperate ways.
Arriving back in the humid heat of Nebraska made me miss the dry heat of the desert and it was strange to have been so many different places over the course of 5 days (we put well over 1000 miles on the rental car). My brother picked me up on time from the airport and I was itching to get on my computer when I got home, even though I was severely lacking in the sleep department.