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Valle Caldera has rich human history

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Posted: Monday, May 5, 2014 5:48 pm | Updated: 12:49 pm, Fri May 16, 2014.

The vast grassland now filling the Valles Caldera is both awe-inspiring and disorienting. Standing at a turnout along N.M. 4 on the edge of the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve, it is difficult to imagine a volcano this massive. The rim of the crater stretches for miles in a panoramic view, yet the far northern border is hidden by Cerro del Medio and Redondo Peak, two volcanic domes that formed within the immense bowl after the main crater collapsed. Visitors stand on the rim wondering whether that dot in the distance is a coyote or a bull elk, or how long it would take to walk across.

With only one visible road stretching to the visitor center — which looks like a tiny Monopoly house from here — the first word many people associate with the sight is “pristine.” 

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Today’s New Mexican, July 23, 2014

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