Valles Caldera, New Mexico
(April 27, 2016)—Like a canvas painted by the famous landscape artist Albert Bierstadt, the Valles Caldera, which is a circular depression made by a 13-mile wide super-volcanic eruption, is a lavish example of the beauty exhibited of the American Southwest. With its rolling hills, old abandoned prospector and rancher cabins, colossal mountains of majesty and magic, slithering streams, and various wildlife, the Valles Caldera is like the fire of romance forever crackling between two long-lost lovers from childhood.
The Caldera’s backcountry is magnificent; painted with splashes of sun dried yellow grass, and the forest green of Ponderosa pines and old twisted juniper, it’s a haven of high desert smells and the most enticing of memories, like that of emotions drawn from Ella Fitzgerald’s original “Summertime”.
In the middle of the Caldera is a large hill, sliced by native-made barricades used as a method of catching large and fast prey. Sprinkled amidst the savannah grass that grows there is a pipeline site yielding ancient Puebloan arrowhead shards made of translucent obsidian.
Within the growth of the hill are worn and torn trails made by wandering and grazing elk, large and small, with tufts of fur on protruding branches and harsh bark as indicators of their previous presence.
Circling the hill is a winding creek that splits and turns throughout much of the Caldera’s lowlands, and which is home to a variety of freshwater fish and where newborn calves hide and rest for their mother’s return after a day of pasturing.
The Valles Caldera, although crafted by the Gods in a most treacherous way; via tumultuous explosions of ash, lava, pumice and earth, is today one of the most beautiful mixtures of history, life and landscape I’ve ever laid eyes on. Nestled amidst New Mexico’s northern plains and towering mountains is a gem of enchantment waiting for your discovery. Make your way to the Valles Caldera and enjoy an adventure you’ll surely never forget.