A Wee Bit o’ the Caldera

Valles Caldera, NM

Ninety miles from touristy Taos

Welcome to the Valles Caldera, one of the most amazing places anywhere. Who knew an exploding volcano could leave such beauty behind after a million years? The sky and walking rain are most prominently featured in this shot. We’ll go in a little closer in the next one to give you a better sense of scale.

I’m still reeling from the impact of this place 24 hours later. The quality of the experience is similar to what I’ve felt in other mostly pristine numinous open spaces in New Mexico, the overwhelming characteristic being a sense of THIS, this, is how it should be, always and everywhere. Shedding tears is not uncommon. You’re in contact with the essence of what it means to be a conscious human being on the planet Earth. It’s like cool pure water for parched souls. A way to understand what “home” is all about, and I don’t mean geographical location.

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John Hamilton Farr lives in Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. with his classical pianist wife. “Possibly the only place I can get away with this,” he says. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore (Bush’s Brain) put it in a review of John’s first book, Buffalo Lights is the work of a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” John is the author of BUFFALO LIGHTS, TAOS SOUL, ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE, and THE HELEN CHRONICLES. He has been publishing online since 1996 (Zoo Zone, Farr Site, MacFaust, GRACK!, FarrFeed) and blogs regularly here at JHFARR.COM. See also → John’s Twitter profile, Amazon Author Page, video channel at YouTube, and website photos at SmugMug. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page.  

  • Pam August 10, 2013, 9:08 AM

    I share your awe of this place. I drove by Valle Grande in 1974, by accident, visiting from Kansas City, a flat-lander thoroughly enthralled, and then called it “Valley” Grande instead of the correct pronunciation. It was late September and I kept meeting cattle trucks coming toward me, down hill toward Jemez. When I crested the rim, I could see the cattle (looking the size of ants) in the massive caldera being loaded to be moved from their summer range. All these years later, that image is still vivid my mind. Thanks for sharing your experience!! (I live in Taos, now, too.)

    • JHF August 10, 2013, 12:55 PM

      I was a little surprised to see the beasts myself, but I guess the place is big enough for anything. I’d hate to meet cattle trucks on that road, though.

  • Katy George August 10, 2013, 11:58 AM

    Looks like you had a perfect birthday! It is a wonderful place.

    • JHF August 10, 2013, 12:56 PM

      Possibly the best birthday ever! And we had lunch in Jemez Springs. Great little town.

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