Snowshoeing in the Caldera

Mitchell Tillison

Albuquerque, United States

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Artist's Description

This is a winter scene from the Valles Caldera National Preserve, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico. The Valles Caldera is located on NM Highway 4, AKA, The Jemez Trail . Geographically, the Jemez Mountains are located in northern New Mexico, near Los Alamos .

Now to the park. A caldera is a large crater formed by volcanic explosion or by collapse of a volcanic cone. The Valles Caldera National Preserve began life as the 89,000 acre Baca land grant. Land grants have their roots in the earliest colonial days of the 16th and 17th centuries, when large parcels were handed out by the Spanish crown.

The Caldera became a National Preserve in 2000. Other than for special events, the Valles Caldera is open only to small groups. By charter, it must become self-sufficient within the next ten years. To that end, much of the land is given over to a massive ranching operation and there are special hunts and fishing claims that are sold by lottery. In winter, it is turned over to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Yerts are scattered across the preserve at intervals, and those who are up to the challenge can rent one for a night or a weekend, and have a sense of total isolation.

Over the years, the Caldera has been home to many film projects. Movies filmed here include The Missing , Seraphim Falls, Buffalo Girls and Shootout. Stars who have walked these hills include Gregory Peck, Kenny Rogers, Tom Selleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Anjelica Huston, and Ron Howard.

Pentax K20D, 1/200 @ F9, ISO 100, .3 EV compensation. A 3 shot panoramic.

Artwork Comments

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