10/13/2011

From Snow to Flagstaff...

So, we left the snow (a day early, mind you) of the North Rim, and headed down to warmer temperatures....Flagstaff!  Not really "that" much warmer, I know, but warm enough.  I have been really surprised at how much I've actually enjoyed Arizona...I like the vibe and feel of this state.  It might surprise everyone to know that I'm actually a native Arizonian, but my family headed to Texas when I was young, so I never really considered "home", but perhaps on some sort of deeper level it is.  Anyway, I really like Flagstaff, and within 30 miles you have 3 national monuments, and within 60 or so miles, you've got 3 national parks!  Needless to say, it's been a great week for our Junior Rangers, who have now chocked up badge numbers 11, 12 and 13!

Stopping for refreshments...you can't see the snow, but if you were to in the back of the truck, it was full of snow.
The view driving around the north rim to the southern areas of the canyon....it was a spectacular drive!


The first of the national monuments we visited near Flagstaff was Sunset Crater National Monument, a volcano that erupted around 1000 years ago.
This is one of the many small red cinders around the park.
Here you can see the lava flow (this is actually the lava flow trail).

Here's a view of the actual crater...called Sunset Crater because the top was colored like the sunset.
Here's a view of the beautiful San Fransisco Peaks from within the park.

Located just north of Sunset Crater, is yet another National Monument, Wupatki National Monument.  Here's a view of the Painted Desert (another national park in the area).
More of the Painted Desert....it's a shame, I remember going here as a kid, but I don't think we'll get to visit it this year :(
Here's the largest of ruins located in Wupatki National Monument, just behind the visitor center.
According to the NPS, this pueblo had something like 100 or so people living in it around 1100.
I loved the architecture, and how good the structure still looked after all these years.


This was the "ball park", essentially archeologists have discovered that the Wupatki played some sort of game, and this was the field (when it wasn't flooded from fall rains).

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