Mountaineering - New Mexico

Capulin Volcano

8182 feet - 2494 meters

Summit: 22 November 1997

Our little family was on the way to visit my folks in Texas, when we decided to stop at
Capulin Volcano National Monument in New Mexico. On a spur of the moment,
I made a run to the summit with our eldest daughter, Brianna. It was the end of November
in 1997, and there had been a recent heavy snowfall in this volcanic region of the state.
We weren't really dressed for post-holing through knee-deep snow, but Brianna did
it without hesitation or complaint. We were soaked from the knees down, not to mention cold,
but we hiked to the summit in a flash and back down to the rest of our little nuclear family
in less than an hour. She was eleven years old at the time; I was thirty-seven.
I think I complained more than she did at the time.

Sangre de Cristo mountains of New Mexico beyond
Jose Butte (8080+ ft) &
Sangre de Cristo range
22 November 1997

Park here, and make haste!
Eli testing the snow
Capulin Monument
22 November 1997

This peak is SSW of Capulin
Laughlin Peak (8800 ft)
from Capulin Volcano
22 November 1997

A short run upslope, a long slide down!
Jenna in the snow,
on the crater rim
22 November 1997

I had spied Capulin numerous times over the years since moving to Wyoming,
watching it go by on my seasonal trips to visit family in Texas. I didn't actually stop there
until Alissa and I were traveling together, with our children. It's funny to think that
we were more mobile and active back then, before the kids grew older. It's true!

Sierra Grande is about 8690 feet above sea level
Brianna staying warm;
Sierra Grande distant
22 November 1997

That lot is where we parked the van...
View West from the
crater rim, halfway up
22 November 1997

There was a frigid breeze as we hiked along the rim to the summit
Brianna in the breeze,
midway Capulin rim
22 November 1997

Looking at the true summit from the second highest point on the crater rim
Brianna surveys the
summit of Capulin
22 November 1997

On this day, I figured only Brianna was old enough to get all the way to the top
and back again. There aren't many things I am right about when it comes to so-called
executive decisions, but this day I hit the nail on the head. The three younger kids stayed
in the van with Alissa while Brianna & I slogged to the top of the mountain. We were all reunited
in about forty-five minutes, and Brianna had joined me on a magical, wint'ry summit,
one which I had never visited before. It was a special moment for me to share it with
her. I could babble on about it for days, even now.

8182 feet above sea level, summit photo
Summit of Capulin,
Brianna & Dad (Ben)
22 November 1997

Wouldn't you like to know what was going through her head?!
Brianna on the summit,
Capulin Volcano
22 November 1997

Descending back to the van
Busting down crud,
Capulin Volcano
22 November 1997

'C'mon, Dad! You're so-o-o SLOW!'
Pausing on descent,
Capulin Volcano
22 November 1997

With our trousers soaked up to the knees, Brianna & I loaded into the van, and the six of us
watched Capulin Mountain shrink in the rear view mirror as we headed toward the Texas border.

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You can't beat sharing with your kids