Capulin Mountain

We’ve all been to wonderful places that bring memories flooding back to us. Places of awesome beauty, like the Canadian Rockies. Places of great excitement like the Grand Ole Opry. Even a quiet spot under a tree at Grandma’s house. Here’s one of the places I remember from my own past.

Ever been down inside the crater of a volcano? Well, that probably sounds more risky than it really was.

Going into the crater of the one pictured above might not be the brightest idea anyone ever had. However, the one I entered had been dormant for enough centuries it seemed pretty safe. Maybe even tame.

In my “People” blog last week I wrote about Judy Truelson, my kindergarten principal who went on to become Superintendent of the Fort Worth Independent School District. He and his wife Louise and their kids Judith Ann and John joined my mother and dad and sister Barb and me on a vacation in 1951.

After spending a night in Dalhart, Texas, we headed across the northeastern corner of New Mexico toward the town of Raton and Raton Pass. Leaving Dalhart, we drove through mainly flat, desolate country until a couple of bumps appeared on the horizon. These bumps morphed into a couple of small mountains off by themselves which we learned were called Rabbit Ear Mountain.

In this picture they don’t look much like Rabbit Ears, but from certain spots along the highway they look much closer together and you can imagine why they got the name. Actually they were named after an old Cheyenne chief, Orejos de Conejos, which translates to Rabbit Ears.

Most of the countryside we drove through that morning looked somewhat like the foreground in the picture above, but farther along we began to see real mountains on the left. Then we began to see a lone mountain on the right that looked like it had a hollow top.

Arriving in the town of Capulin, a major metropolis of some 60 people in the 2000 census, we saw a sign pointing to the mountain and identifying it as a volcano, and decided to go see it up close. We could see from the distance there was a road going up the side of it, winding clear around the mountain as it climbed.

Judith Ann was probably around 12 or 13 at the time, and she didn’t want to go up that road. I didn’t actually hear my dad breathe a sigh of relief, but he volunteered immediately to stay down at the bottom with her. He never was much for mountain roads.

The rest of us piled into the Truelsons’ car and rode up together. There wasn’t really all that much to see once we got there. The crater seemed large and deep to an eight year-old, but it wasn’t all that exotic. Vegetation grew all through it.

If I drove up the mountain today, I probably wouldn’t be all that impressed, but to my eight year-old brain, being inside a volcano crater was the coolest thing in the world.

Ø What are some of the places you remember from childhood—or maybe from last year?

Ø Think about what those places mean to you.

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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7 Responses to Capulin Mountain

  1. Karen C says:

    Enjoyed your trip memories and pictures. My husband and I took a trip to Ruidoso a couple of years ago. One of the things that made it so memorable for me was seeing trees changing colors. I’m originally from upstate NY and haven’t seen trees like that in over 15 years since I moved to Texas. My husband, a Texas boy, just sort of laughed at me going on about the beauty of the trees! :o)

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  2. I’m enjoying your tales. Thanks for the memories. Love, Wife

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  3. Barb Estinson says:

    Gosh, I hadn’t thought about Capulin in years. My memory is foggy, of course … but I think that Dad, Louise, Judith Ann, and I were all too chicken to go up. I could be wrong … who knows! Fun memory anyway.

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  4. What a wonderful adventure, David. You’re so right.. such places absolutely must be explored. How neat to visit a vulcano as a child. I’d have loved that, too. Never heard of Capulin and would love to go there someday. Great post.

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