Capulin Volcano National Monument, NM #19
As I drove Highway 87, the diagonal highway from Amarillo, TX to Raton, NM it truly defined "wide open spaces"...and I grew up in South Dakota! What I didn't expect to see were hundreds of antelope, and they weren't like the ones I've seen in other parts of the country. They sauntered across the road and you had better stop for them. Also, they would graze right next to the road and not care that you were speeding by next to their heads. So consider yourself warned if you visit Capulin Volcano and the beautiful area around it.
OK, on to Capulin Volcano. The first thing you notice as you approach, is that it looks nearly perfect round! At the visitor center I learned that the volcanic nature of the area began about a million years ago, paleo indians arrived only 10,000 years ago. In geologic terms; that's yesterday! If you recall some of my other blogs on New Mexico, it is an expansive volcanic area! Capulin represents the northeastern edge of that volcanic region.
These interesting layers called ash and lapilli, are from eruptions. They are made up of grain rock, minerals & glass! As you travel up the spiral road of the volcano they are visible occasionally.
As you spiral up the volcano, the views become better and better. As you park your car at the top of the volcano and peer over the fence into the crater, it really strikes you how perfectly round this volcano really is.
This is the view down into the crater.
Here are some of the terrific views on cinder cones and grasslands surrounding Capulin Volcano.
The area around the volcano is grassland and is a valuable ecosystem that contains elk, deer, bears, mountain lions and 73 different species of birds. This came as a surprise to me that there are that many species of birds located in the area. Usually you need a wetlands area to see that many different birds. Oh, and cows...lots of cows.
One advisory, if you are planning to visit Capulin anytime soon, make sure to check the website or call as the park is closed at this time. They experienced some heavy rains and it has closed the road due to debris on the road and damage to the pavement.
Go and enjoy the volcano and the vast views!