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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  • 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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