Capulin in the Land of Enchantment

I don’t really like to visit two parks in one day. It messes up the details of the parks in my mind. “Now when was the park created?” “What happened there?” We had already visited Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument in the morning.

But when we saw that we were passing right by the turn-off to Capulin Volcano National Monument in New Mexico, we couldn’t resist. We gained an hour by driving from Texas to New Mexico; we’re now on Mountain Time.

We headed for the monument that we could see for miles before we got there. Capulin is the cone of a perfectly symmetrical  volcano that erupted between 56,000 and 62,000 years ago. It’s part of a great area of volcanic hills and peaks.

We drove up to the top of the volcano and walked around the rim. The sky was getting darker and my pictures aren’t that good. The top photo is a view of the other volcano in the area from the rim of Capulin.

The rim is full of small trees and bushes that keep the volcano from being just scree. A dead tree reminded me of drift wood, but the ocean is a long way away. At its height, we were at over 8,000 feet, the highest altitude we’ve been so far.

Another short trail took us to the vent at the bottom of the crater. The information said “the inside of the volcano” and I expected to be in a tunnel but the bottom was all exposed. Capulin became a monument in 1916 to protect the volcano.

We’re now in Taos, looking at art and historic site. The town is hippier and dippier than Asheville, if that’s possible.

The new license plates for New Mexico now say New Mexico, USA. Does the New Jersey license plate say “New Jersey, USA”, so that you don’t confuse it with Jersey in the English Channel?


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