Posted by: Kirsten | Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Live from the Caldera

Just when I thought I’d be locked out of cyberspace — turns out the place where we’re staying has wireless internet. We’re staying in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, about 35 miles west of Bandelier National Monument.  The Jemez River is bubbling along outside our window, the skies are incredibly dark, and the pace is noticeably slower than at home.

Today we took a drive through Valles Caldera National Preserve, which is a huge extinct (hopefully!) volcanic caldera, with herds of elk roaming about, aspens at their fall peak of pale gold, and lots of interesting rock formations at every road cut. Just up the road is the Valles Caldera Visitor Center, barely open at all, with the info center undergoing its first coat of paint as we speak. The administrative office just next door has plenty of info on both the Preserve and nearby sights (Jemez State Monument, Los Alamos, East Fork Wild & Scenic River, various Pueblo sites, Bandelier Nat’l Monument, Jemez Nat’l Recreation Area, Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, and others).

At Bandelier National Monument today, we walked the loop trail to the Long House and the extended trail to the Alcove House, which featured climbs up four ladders (140-foot ascension) to reach the ceremonial cave and kiva. My daughter earned a Junior Ranger patch as well.  We spent what was left of the afternoon in the town Los Alamos’ Bradbury Science Museum.  It has a decidedly nuclear slant, but there are plenty of other science topics to explore. Tomorrow we head toward Taos and hope to swing over to another National Park on the way.

Yesterday morning a 4-year-old girl fell to her death at the Grand Canyon’s Mather viewpoint.  Many of us have made that same journey and had those same worries as our kids approach the various railings and retaining walls at parks across the country. Our three family rules for these kinds of trips are: 1) Have fun, 2) Be safe, and 3) Have fun.  Let’s not forget Rule #2 as we take our kids out to experience the world.    Please say a prayer for this little girl and her family.

— Jon


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: