Wupatki and Sunset Crater

I awoke in the night to thunder and rain! In Arizona. Yesterday folks were saying this has been a monsoon year in this part of the country. But, that is certainly why all the flowers are in bloom now! And, that contributes to the allergies we both woke up with this morning.

First stop: Safeway pharmacy for some Allegra to stop the sneezing and runny noses.

The rain had stopped, yet the clouds were fierce and the winds blew with force. Still, it was 70 degrees with spots of sun, so on we traveled.

2016-09-13-14-56-46We went out to visit Sunset Crater Volcano National Park. Being from the land of Mt. St. Helen’s, it was interesting to see a very different landscape; a very different type of volcano. I’m no geologist, but I could see the difference in the results of the volcano’s impact. Sunset crater erupted over 1,000 years ago, but still looks in some ways as if it had happened a year ago. And, since we are already several thousand feet above sea level, the peak of Sunset crater looks to be only a few hundred feet high! Because it is. We are just short of 7,000 feet above sea level at Flagstaff, and Sunset Volcano’s peak is about 8,000 feet.

The sky was filled with angry clouds as we stopped at Sunset Volcano, and I neglected to capture a shot that I can put easily into my blog tonight. Suffice it to say, it looked like a small hill that was covered with tarmac (black volcanic ash) and dotted with a few small points of vegetation.
2016-09-13-14-42-04-1We went down the other side of Sunset Crater to the East and sought out our next destination, the site of theĀ Wupatki ruins. Here again we saw another stunning example of complex dwellings that housed an agricultural people for several hundred years. We stopped to talk with a National Parks ranger who explained that it was actually the ash from the volcano that made the ground fertile enough for the Sinagua people to cultivate for several generations. When the land was no longer “fertilized” by the volcano ash and had been spent due to constant cultivation, the people picked up and moved on to other sites. But the ancient architecture of their homes and ceremonial sites remain.2016-09-13-14-13-51-b

We walked among the 800 year old ruins and enjoyed watching the rain clouds move swiftly over the Eastern sky, then made the decision for that late lunch / early dinner back in Flagstaff.

Salsa Bravo was recommended as the best Mexican food Flagstaff had to offer and we enjoyed a very fresh and tasty Mexican meal. Amazingly, it was quite different from the last Mexican meal we enjoyed. There is such a variety in the Mexican kitchen. And, we enjoyed it thoroughly.

That made for an early return to our little cabin, but we were ready for it. It was just turning dusk and I went for a short walk before coming back for the National news. The first news we’ve seen in a week. That’s truly one of the graces, or benefits of vacation . . . no news!

The winds have died down now, but the chill is on. We can smell smoke from some neighbor’s wood fireplace. We’ll tuck in for some reading and relaxing tonight. Tomorrow is another adventure.