Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ever been to the top of an extinct cinder cone?

Over the years, this girl's travels have been quite diverse...some well photographed, some not so much...

From Wikipedia, the official name of this monument is Capulin Volcano National Monument, in the northeastern part of New Mexico.   In 1971, at the time I took these pictures, the official name was Capulin Mountain National Monument, one of the lesser-known natural treasures in the US.

Capulin Volcano is a well-preserved, relatively young (58,000 to 62,000 years old), symmetrical cinder cone. It rises steeply from the surrounding grassland plains to an elevation of 8,182 feet above sea level. The irregular rim of the crater is about a mile in circumference and the crater about 400 feet deep. 

This is one of the outstanding landmarks located in the northeast corner of New Mexico, where the rolling grasslands meet the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.   Capulin Volcano's highest point provides unobstructed, panoramic views of the volcanic field, distant snow-capped mountains, and portions of four states (New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado).

Look closely at the almost-empty parking lot on the other side (WAY over there), and you'll see my blue car.

Telephoto view of parking lot...

A perfectly-shaped symmetrical cinder cone at dawn!  The diagonal line on the side of the cone is the road to the top.  Fabulous sightseeing!

And it was very clear the day of my visit...                                                                                          

This week there was a big meeting of several vendors for a universally-used "utility," held in the office of our development, and attended by about half the residents. While we knew some of the folks there, most were ones we hadn't met.  It was nice to meet the other neighbors.   I was wearing one of my summer outfits due to mid-seventies temperatures:  untucked polo tunic, Capri pants, pantyhose, flats and small over-the-shoulder purse, with no makeup or jewelry.  Some residents avoided gender-specific greetings for me.  Others used the dreaded "S" word, because they knew me.  But the vendors generally used feminine forms for me...and it was good to hear!  Fortunately my wife missed most of them...she would not have been happy.

We'll see where the "miss-identifications" lead...




  1. Most people do not think ahead that they may have to even think about a person's gender before addressing them. As such there are the basic cues that you emit that go in both directions. I suspect that this can be confusing to folks. On the one hand they see your size and shape and their mind works in one direction. On the other hand the purse, the capris, the flats and, most significantly I would think, the pantyhose, would push their minds in another direction. No surprise that somefolks react with one gender, others with the other and others work to avoid using any gender designation.

    1. That's a great description! And some days are better than others, depending on what places I (or we) visit and the age of the server/clerk/staff member!


  2. I have never been to a volcano, so this looks pretty interesting to me.

    Over 8,100 feet high? The air must have been thin up there. I have been at that elevation camping and remember at first arrival that I cold feel the difference breathing. Maybe it was psychological, I don't know for sure.

    As for your utility meeting, I'm glad the vendors were on the ball :-) Did you sense any disrespect from your newly met fellow community members? I really hope not!

    1. Hi Jen,

      As for your second question: no, so far no change has been noted in anyone's attitudes. However, in fairness, we haven't been to any other community affairs. There may be a Memorial Day party...if we attend, that'll be the best place to find out. And I kinda sorta think everything will stay the same...

      As for volcano's elevation, it juts out of New Mexico's high plains. Clayton, NM (to the southeast some 20 miles), has an elevation of about 5029 ft. Raton's elevation (approximately 15 miles to the northwest) is approximately 6169 ft. Extrapolating a ground level elevation of about 5500 ft, at the volcano, it juts out of the ground approximately 2500 ft. It isn't all that high, when you start from ground level instead of sea level! But the views from the top are fantastic on a clear day. Wish I could get back there for an instant replay...

      In September of 2012 we visited Yellowstone National Park. At Old Faithful Lodge, the elevation is about 7300 ft. When we first arrived, and I climbed the steps to our room, I really noticed the thin air. But after a couple days there, that lessened considerably.

      In 2008 we visited Bryce Canyon in Utah. At Rainbow Point (the end of a high scenic drive) the elevation was 9115 ft. I have a picture as a reminder! And breathing was definitely harder up that high.

      A couple years previously, we drove over a pass at another western location, with an elevation of 9600 ft (again I have a picture) and walking around to take photos made breathing uncomfortable during the exertion. Had we stayed a while at any of those elevations, I suspect I'd have gotten more comfortable with the altitude...our bodies seem to adapt to many things. Of course, from my flying days, I recall that in a small plane, oxygen is needed to prevent problems at over 10,000 ft. So I don't plan to move to anywhere that high in the!


    2. Well I hope that Memorial Day party comes to 'pass' (pun unavoidable ;-) )

      I can tell from the pictures what an expansive view that must have been. Very beautiful Mandy - thank you for sharing them!

    3. You're welcome! Will update after the get-together - if we go! May not be in town that day.