SEAN
ELLIS

 

Adventure can happen when you least expect it.

 

On the way home from an informal adventure-writers’ retreat/brainstorming session in Santa Fe (with my co-author David Wood and new friend Nick Thacker) we made a restroom stop at the El Malpais National Monument visitors’ center. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know this place existed until I saw the signs on the outbound leg of the trip.

 

The authors, Left - Sean Ellis, Center - David Wood, Right - Nick Thacker

What a find!

 

El Malpais (Spanish for “the Bad Country”) is a protected federal area at the southeastern edge of the Colorado Plateau. Recent volcanic activity (in the geological sense) has left the area covered in lava flows, and honeycombed with lava tube caves, although even more spectacular are the ancient Sandstone Bluffs, which have been weathered into amazing arches and pinnacles that loom over the landscape.

Panorama of the sandstone bluffs and valley below

 

We backtracked a bit to State Highway 117 and headed south, hoping to find the Dittert site—an Anasazi ruin we’d read about at the visitors’ center. On the way, we stopped off at the Sandstone Bluffs. A short drive on a gravel road brought us to the top of the bluffs overlooking the lava flows.

 

Author Sean Ellis standing on a sandstone bluff overlooking the lava flows

 

After playing on the rocks for a while we got back on the highway and continued south for about half an hour until we reached County Road 41—a well-maintained gravel road—which brought us to York Ranch and Armijo Canyon road—a much less well-maintained narrow dirt road with no room to turn around. I’ll admit, I was a little worried about getting high-centered or knocking a hole the oil pan. We were in a rental car and I’d paid the damage waiver, but even so, this did not seem like a good kind of place for a breakdown.

 

Road to ruin! The gravel road that lead to the dirt tracks, that was supposed to have lead to Anasazi ruins.

 

The road went right past the GPS coordinates for the site—no sign of any ruins—and eventually brought us to a turnoff and a flat area in the middle of a pasture, where we could turn around. I wasn’t sure if this was the 'parking lot' we were supposed to be looking for, but I wasn’t going to pass up this possibly only chance to avoid driving back to the county road in reverse.

 

We got out and looked around, hoping to spot the ruins. I thought we might get lucky and find in a nearby mound, but all we found there was the skeleton of what I assume was a steer from the nearby ranch.

 

All we found were these scattered cow bones.

The bones were picked clean.

 

We took it as a sign and headed back to the car and on our way.

Adventure novelist and would-be action hero
Sean Ellis' Logo–Backpacker in the mountains, Adventure Awaits
the bad country

CONTACT

MEDIA ROOM

BOOKS

BLOGS

Click here to follow Sean Ellis' adventures on Instagram Click here to like Sean Ellis Author on FaceBook Click here to see the archive of Steampunk Adventure 'The Perpetural Problem' by Sean Ellis on Tumblr

 

 

Email: info@seanellisauthor.com

Snail mail: Bees' Knees Creatives, LLC

PO Box 30862

Phoenix, AZ 85046

United States

Privacy Policy

© 2017 Bees' Knees Creatives, LLC

Sean Ellis' Logo–Backpacker in the mountains, Adventure Awaits

The authors, Left - Sean Ellis, Center - David Wood, Right - Nick Thacker

Panorama of the sandstone bluffs and valley below

Author Sean Ellis standing on a sandstone bluff overlooking the lava flows

Road to ruin! The gravel road that lead to the dirt tracks, that was supposed to have lead to Anasazi ruins.

All we found were these scattered cow bones.

Click here to follow Sean Ellis' adventures on Instagram Click here to like Sean Ellis Author on FaceBook Click here to see the archive of Steampunk Adventure 'The Perpetural Problem' by Sean Ellis on Tumblr
Adventure novelist and
would-be action hero

The authors, Left - Sean Ellis, Center - David Wood, Right - Nick Thacker

Panorama of the sandstone bluffs and valley below

Author Sean Ellis standing on a sandstone bluff overlooking the lava flows

Road to ruin! The gravel road that lead to the dirt tracks, that was supposed to have lead to Anasazi ruins.

All we found were these scattered cow bones.

Sean Ellis' Logo–Backpacker in the mountains, Adventure Awaits
Click here to follow Sean Ellis' adventures on Instagram Click here to like Sean Ellis Author on FaceBook Click here to see the archive of Steampunk Adventure 'The Perpetural Problem' by Sean Ellis on Tumblr
Bad Country

The authors, Left - Sean Ellis, Center - David Wood, Right - Nick Thacker

Panorama of the sandstone bluffs and valley below

Author Sean Ellis standing on a sandstone bluff overlooking the lava flows

Road to ruin! The gravel road that lead to the dirt tracks, that was supposed to have lead to Anasazi ruins.

All we found were these scattered cow bones.

Sean Ellis' Logo–Backpacker in the mountains, Adventure Awaits
Click here to follow Sean Ellis' adventures on Instagram Click here to see the archive of Steampunk Adventure 'The Perpetural Problem' by Sean Ellis on Tumblr