Apr 28, 2012
. Being able to see this nearly perfect cinder cone rising above the surrounding area and then to hike down into the center of the cone was a fantastic experience. After retrieving the camper we headed east on U.S. Rt. 64 and 87 through the rolling cattle country of NM and into Texas. Amazingly immediately after crossing from NM into Texas the landscape changed from the semi desert cattle ranches to large irrigated farm fields. It was very nice to see green fields and green grass along the roadway after seeing nothing but rock and dirt for so long. We headed southeast on U.S. 87 and 287 to Amarillo TX, where we found “Amarillo Ranch RV Park” near I-40.
Before heading east we drove to "Capulin Volcano National Monument", leaving the trailer at the campground. After viewing a short film at the visitor's center we headed up the road, circling the mountain, to the top of the volcano. This drive was a little nerve racking as the road was narrow with a rock wall on one side and a steep drop-off on the other, without any guard rail or even a curb to let you know you are too close to the edge. From the parking lot we took .25 mile hike into the volcano’s crater to an area of large boulders that have sealed the center of the crater. After that we took the one mile trail around the rim of the crater, it was a strenuous hike but well worth the effort as the views out over the crater and the surrounding valley was fantastic. This is a fairly young volcano, as it was only 60,000 years ago that the cinder cone was formed from the violent explosion of molten rock, rising 1,200 feet above the surrounding landscape. It is one of many volcanos that shaped the landscape of northern New Mexico