Capulin Volcano is definitely a worthwhile stop for travelers going through northeast New Mexico. If you aren't towing a large camper, it is a doable stop on you way through the state. If you are, it might be worth a single night stay close by, just so that you can spend more time exploring and not worry about the extra load behind you.
An afternoon of climbing in the sand dunes may have been exhausting, but the views were glorious, and it turned out to be a perfect single day national park adventure. Our son declared that it is his second favorite park, next to Arches.
I am an admitted National Parks junkie, but the beautiful nature that blankets America’s landscape has multiple caretakers. The Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak are excellent examples of how nature can be preserved when local communities decide that it is a priority. Over a 24 hour period, our family got to be the beneficiaries of that prioritization, making this vacation stop an adventure that our kids will not soon forget.
A regular scroll through my Facebook or Instagram accounts makes it seem like this is easy for us, but detaching from electronics and work and the outside world and forcing our kids (and us) into nature takes real effort. There are some weekends when I just want to hunker down inside and knock things off of my work and home to-do lists. There are days when I argue that it is too hot or too cold or too wet for us to face the elements. But I refuse to believe that our children have to grow up in the countryside to appreciate the world around them. We just have to make sure they are given the opportunities to see past the concrete.
More than that, I can't put a numerical value on the way that finally getting back out of the house and back into nature helped to heal me when I was the most broken, the most alone, and the most frustrated I have been in my adult life. It took me away from my computer and my cell phone (mostly), provided me with outdoor exercise, and helped me to reconnect with my family. It got me away from a house that I simultaneously loved and loathed, keeping me from obsessively planning how we were going to afford or find the time for the next renovation project. It took me out of a city that often felt like a shoe that didn't fit right, pinching my toes and scraping my heel. Most importantly, it brought me face to face with my Creator as I marvelled at the trees, hills, waterfalls, shorelines, sunsets, and stars that make up creation. At a time where even church didn't always feel like a perfect fit, He was showing me where I still fit into His big picture, reminding me that even in the difficult seasons, He is the master of all.