Sunday, July 19, 2015

Valle Grande


A lotta years ago, I was on a business trip which included a stop in Albuquerque. We were hiring for an administrative position at the college I was working for, and I was interviewing candidates in Denver and Albuquerque.  My old college roommate Doug was up in White Rock, working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.  He picked me up at the airport, after the scariest landing I'd ever experienced.  It was a DC-3, I'm pretty sure, and I'm also pretty sure the wingtips weren't more than a couple of feet from the canyon walls on each side.

He drove me, in late afternoon sunshine, to Bandolier National Monument (now Park.) So, fresh out of late winter grimy slush in New England, there I was clambering around Anasazi cave dwelling ruins.  It was magical.

The next day, he borrowed some nordic skis for me and we went out into the mountains.  It was the first time I'd ever been on snow that was deeper than I was tall. Way deeper.  It was in a caldera (what I would have called a "crater") from an ancient volcano.    I was enchanted.

That trip was the beginning of my involvement with the American Southwest; it set in motion forces which retain their power in my life to this day.  I mean, here I am, years later, staying in Doug's house again, a few miles from Bandolier. Yesterday I drove out to the caldera to say hello again.

The official info sign

Looking out across the caldera.

Looking in another direction,

It's very hard to capture the feeling of big open landscapes with a camera. Ansel Adams I'm not. I sat there, leaning against my car, and felt the years sweep over me with the wind.  Tears and smiles: the story of aging.


  1. Hi,

    Bandelier is an amazing place to visit, I've not been there in several years since the fire. Really enjoying your blog and where you go in NM.


  2. A lovely story with lovely photographs. There is a reason the state is called "The Land of Enchantment."

  3. Hello Rich. Nice post. I like that phrase,,,,"Tears and smiles: the story of aging.". It has been applicable to me several times in my travels. Be safe, have fun and I'll Cya down the road.