Sunday, October 09, 2005

Valles Caldera

While taking a long drive, we came upon an
impressive place called Valles Caldera.
It's the site of a collapsed volcanic crater
that erupted about a million years ago and
was 500 times more powerful than the
Mount St. Helens eruption. It's only 7 miles
west of Los Alamos and easy to get to.

It's hard to get a feeling in photographs
exactly how big this place is. Kind of like
the Grand Canyon, pictures don't do it
justice. It's 89,000 acres big and was a
privately owned ranch until 2000, when
the federal government purchased it and
saved it from development. Right now,
it's considered a Preserve, but is loosely
affiliated with Bandelier National Monument.
Fauna include huge herds of Elk, numbering
in the hundreds or thousands. They look
like tiny dots on the horizon.

While enjoying the view, we met some
interesting folks from Long Island who were
traveling throughout Arizona and New
Mexico. It turns out, a friend of theirs
was someone who also works at McMurdo.
A small world indeed. We plan to go back
in a few weeks to hike inside the valley and
soak up more of the emptiness and nature.
Maybe during the elk rut.


MrAdVenture said...

I will be honest,I was going to pass on by without stopping,but I just happened to see a Google ad about giving a ballon ride as a gift,and though,heh,that would be perfect.After I got the info from that,I had to read some of your posts.You have a nice way with words,I may be back!

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