Today we rode a big loop out at Valles Caldera National Preserve. Valles Caldera is a volcanic crater that lies atop a dormant supervolcano. The caldera is one of the largest calderas on earth at 13.7 miles in diameter and formed about 1 million years ago when multiple eruptions occurred. A caldera eruption differs from other volcanic eruptions. This isn’t the type of eruption like St. Helens where the summit peak is blown off and a crater forms. A caldera forms when the ground collapses into the magma chamber as the magma is erupted in a series of explosions.
The preserve is amazing. Massive meadows, San Antonio Stream, mountains, trees, and wide wide open space kept us busy. Our loop was 35 miles with 2645′ of climbing. Most of the ride is on gravel and dirt roads, some of which are closed to cars. Mountain bikes were necessary because of the primitive nature of some of the doubletrack paths and the rocky obsidian sections. When we were on the “main” loop a few cars passed us, but once we got into the backcountry we had the place to ourselves. Us, the coyotes, prairie dogs and elk we saw, and plenty of amazing scenery.
For dinner, Chef Derek made us some salmon cakes and Asian scallion pancakes with a ginger soy glaze. I forgot to take a picture but I’m sure I’ll demand he make these again because everything was delicious.