Looking down into Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

During a road trip through the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico, my good friend Nori Ann Reed and I rounded a curve and stumbled on the Valles Caldera National Preserve, a collapsed volcano crater.

I was trying valiantly NOT to play “travel writer” on this trip, so I didn’t take very good photos or notes, but the place keeps coming back to me as somewhere I want to return.

Doesn’t look like much, does it? Lotsa grass. Big deal.

What’s amazing is that the background you see beyond Nori Ann (we were at a roadside pulloff on Highway 4, part of the Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic Byway) is much larger than it appears.

We rounded a corner on a twisty mountain road to see this massive open area, and when we looked down into it, we realized that the few tiny, ant-like beings we saw were cars and people down there. It is MUCH bigger than it initially appears.

Have any of our readers been way down into the Caldera? What’s it like down there?

Even on a “no travel writing trip” I couldn’t stand it; great discoveries have to be documented.  :)

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