Cathedrals of Time ~ Sunset Crater & Wupatki Nat.l Monuments, Arizona

“Ruins are the cathedrals of time” ~ Marty Rubin

Winding up our summer travels with the grandson, we set out for one last hurrah to Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument before returning him to his Mama in California.  We originally planned to RV in Sedona, but 25 miles out, our A/C failed. Naturally, with triple-digit weather, we returned home and made plans to visit Flagstaff.

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Advice from a volcano and a Grandma: go with the flow and have a blast!

 

Sunset Crater Volcano was decreed a National Monument in 1930 by President Hoover after a Hollywood film company planned to detonate explosives on it exterior for a movie. Thank goodness for public outcry and a concerned president for saving this beautiful, historical and interesting land.

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Each time a volcano erupts, life begins anew ~ NPS

Sunset Crater is located just outside of Flagstaff and is the youngest in a string of volcanoes related to the nearby San Francisco Peaks.  I’ve passed the exit for this monument many times during my I-40 travel and never thought to stop and visit.  

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Exploring the 1-mile Lava Flow trail

Due to severe erosion from past volcano-climbing visitors, you can no longer climb to the top of Sunset crater, but you can climb the nearby Lenox Crater and Doney Mountain cinder cones. We considered the 1-mile Lenox Crater trail, but with extreme humidity and a steep ascent, we opted to explore the 1-mile Lava Flow Trail instead.

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The grandson checking out a hornito, or spatter cone alongside the trail.

Spatter cones are one of the main types of volcanic type landforms and are made from lava that was ejected from a vent [worldlandforms.com]. Don’t I sound scientific, ha, ha! We just thought it was cool.

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“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek” ~ Joseph Campbell

Oh, darn, access denied! At one time this ice cave could be visited, but it closed after a partial collapse of the lava tube. I’m discovering Sunset Crater National Monument is quite interesting and educational.

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“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure” ~ Rumi

Keep driving the 35-mile dual park loop and you will reach Wupatki National Monument. Wupatki is abundant with ancient dwellings dating back to the 1100s, including the above Wukoki Pueblo.

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“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens” ~ Carl Jung

Surprisingly, you are allowed to walk upon the ruins. The short door ways are more for protection and don’t depict the occupants height.  For me personally, these are the largest and most well-preserved relics that I’ve ever visited. I’m so impressed with this park!

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“A storm was coming, but that’s not what she felt. It was adventure on the wind and it shivered down her spine.” ~ Atticus

The day turned stormy and humid; but the thunder and lightning did not deter us from continuing our travels. While the hubby opted to stay in the car, the grandson and I had no qualms about getting wet or dodging the lightening ~ it was an adventure on the wind.

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Wupatki Pueblo

The park was named after this antiquity, the Wupatki Pueblo. Thought to have housed over 100 people, these remains are one of the larger villages dotting the parks massive landscape. The Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo are descendants of the original dwellers.

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“Modesty is the citadel of beauty” ~ Demades

Atop the Citadel Pueblo. The lightening was getting a little too close, so the grandson headed back to the car. If you take the time to look,  you can see an array of pueblos in the distance from the Citadel.

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The landscape in the park is so diverse; we walked through pine trees at Sunset Crater, then desert at Wupatki.  In the distance are San Francisco Peaks, which are on my must explore list.

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Regrettably, I ran out of battery prior to arriving at the Lomaki Pueblo and left my spare at home.  Lomaki has a .5-mile walking path that leads to multiple dwellings sitting above a dry box canyon. It’s desolate, but I really got a feeling of community here.

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I truly underestimated the wow-factor of Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monument.  Many times we bypass those little brown signs on the side of the freeway directing us to the lesser-known monuments or historical places of interest for the more renowned national parks. If you’re ever in the Flagstaff, AZ area, stop and check out these monuments, it is worth your time.

Coming Home…..Last Stop, Kolob Canyon

It’s a funny thing about coming home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You’ll realize whats changed is you. – F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Driving through a secondary fire on I-15 outside of Beaver, Utah

All good things must come to an end……or so they say.  For our last hurrah, we wanted to visit Cedar Breaks National Monument, a smaller version of Bryce Canyon, but the Brian’s Head fire foiled our plans.

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Billowing smoke from the Brian’s Head Fire, Utah.

It’s said that the fire was started by a resident burning weeds around his cabin. I was considering purchasing a weed burner for my yard, but, after what happened to this gentleman, I think I’ll pass. Weeds, winds, hot temps and fire just don’t mix.

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A smoky view of Kolob Canyon

With our original plans hindered, we decided to visit Kolob Canyon instead.  The canyon is located at the tip of Zion National Park and accessed via exit 40 on the I-15. There is a lovely scenic drive and multi-level trails for day hiking.

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Timber Creek Trail

 

We chose the easier Timber Creek Trail to the Finger Canyon’s Overlook considering the poor air quality in the area. Like most canyons its uphill, but the view is beautiful.

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The Grandson at the overlook

 

We ran into some pesky biting insects throughout the trail. My grandson managed a smile before making a break for a bug-free zone. Where is that bottle of “Off” when you need it!

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Virgin River Gorge, I-15 AZ

Well, we are home now but I’m already packing for my next trip.  In nine days we’ll be hitting the road to Oregon to see my youngest daughter and grand-kids.  As Mr. Fitzgerald said, coming home may look, smell, and feel the same…..but in exploring our beautiful world, I realized I’ve changed.

These are the days……

These are the days of the endless summer, These are the days, the time is now
There is no past, there’s only future, There’s only here, there’s only now……..Van Morrison

These are the days – Van Morrison

I’ve been spending my hours lately keeping cool in the confines of my air-conditioned house. The seemingly “days of the endless summer” of the desert southwest has arrived.  I’ve had to forgo my local outdoor activities lately and I am listless and ready to roam.

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The grandson is spending the summer with us again–I’m elated to have my hiking buddy back.   He’ll be starting junior high next year so I’m grateful he still wants to wander with us old folks.

We’ll be hitting the road next week, heading to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. I’m looking forward to the greenery and cooler climate, but not the summer crowds.  I usually refrain from traveling peak season, but it’s a happy compromise to Arizona’s oppressive heat.

We’ll be routing our return by way of scenic highway, exploring the Bear-tooth, Little Bighorn, and down into the blue roads of Wyoming. I’m excited and expect to have some beautiful photos to share and an interesting travel tale or two. So long for now.  Sandra

 

 

Urge for Going

“She’s got the urge for going, So I guess she’ll have to go…”  – Joni Mitchell

I heard this beautiful melody on the radio recently, and although inspired by wintertime, I found it quite relevant to my migratory nature and love of wandering. Here’s a link if you’d like to listen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvSvTRhAJxg

Thanks to the Adventure group I joined, I discovered a wonderful new place to get “going.”  Cattail Cove State Park is located between Havasu and Parker, Arizona, and offers some nice hiking trails.

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Whyte’s Retreat Trail

The one and half mile Whyte’s Retreat trail follows the Colorado River shoreline winding in and out of coves and ending at the BLM campsite of the same name. Gorgeous!

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Wayne’s Way with the state park in the distance

The more strenuous Wayne’s Way and Ted’s trail lead up and down through desert hills and shallow gorges. A section of Ted’s trail runs through a wash with bluffs on both sides and includes a few dry “waterfalls” to scale.

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Grow where you are planted

I’m always surprised what can grow in areas where climates and conditions are harsh. So wherever you are today, adapt, grow and bloom where you are planted.

Sandra

Arch Rock Loop Trail @ SARA Park

“I dressed and went for a walk – determined not to return until I took in what Nature had to offer.”-   Raymond Carver, This Morning

After spending Saturday afternoon reading Claire Miller’s, “Mile 445: Hitched in Her Hiking Boots,” I got an itch Sunday morning to don my boots and stretch my legs on the Arch Rock Loop Trail in SARA Park.

With temperatures in the 40’s and winds light, conditions were perfect for the uphill climb to the arch. I had one worry, the path to the arch is what I call a goat trail – a narrow, arduous footpath fit more for a mountain goat, not a sometimes wobbly grandma.

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From this trail, you descend down into the wash (not shown) and  back up the Arch Trail

Determined to see the arch, I cautiously moved each foot forward, placing each shoe in a previous hikers imprint.  As I walked, all I could think about was having to go back down. The thought of descending the trail through loose rocks and rubble caused a little concern.

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Checking out the arch

With the arch all to myself, I rested for a while appreciating nature and it’s wonders. I wasn’t interested in tackling the trail back yet, so I headed off on a side path and enjoyed the solitude of walking the desert terrain.

By the time I decided to double back, the winds kicked up making the descent quite frightening. I was so thankful for someone else’s foot prints guiding the way down and keeping me from sliding. Following one strong wind gust, I finally threw my pride to the side and shimmied down on my bottom.

After taking in what nature had to offer, all I can say is one time on the Arch Trail is enough for this grandma.

Serendipity

Serendipity (n.) – luck that takes the form of finding pleasant things that are not looked for.

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I was on my way out of the house a few days ago, when I happened to see this beauty nibbling my Lantana bush.  What makes this event so serendipitous is that the butterfly waited for me to run back into the house and grab my camera, waiting for its close up.

This weekend, I returned to the Hualapai Mountains to take advantage of the trail system and cooler weather.  This morning, I decided to hike down to the Silver Bell Mine. The path was not clearly marked and I  found myself off trail a few times, ready to give up.

I was debating on turning back, when  I was pleasantly “directed” to a little chipmunk sitting dead-on the path. Could this be another example of serendipity?  I continued my hike and stumbled across a small herd of elk – two cows and a bull with very large antlers. My morning was full of surprises.

I never made it to the mine, the elk blocked the path so I returned to the cabin. They’re beautiful creatures, but I’ll admire them from a distance, thank you. If they approach me, I’m out of there!

Sometimes what you’re looking for, comes when you’re not looking at all.” – unknown.

The Freedom Loving Adventurer

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Freedom-loving adventurer, that’s me!

In addition to hiking, reading is another favorite activity of mine. With July and August temps consistently between 110-120, I’ve spent most of my summer indoors with a book.

Recently, I received an invitation to download a free title from Hay House. I’m open-minded, so for fun, I chose a book on Numerology by Michelle Buchanan. I don’t take this stuff too seriously, but, you never know, right?

One of the alleged benefits of numerology is that it can uncover your destiny and life purpose. After calculating my numbers, I found the results of the Destiny and the Soul Number quite interesting.

Supposedly, the Destiny Number reveals what you are destined to do in this life and who you are destined to become. The Soul Number (or Heart’s Desire) reveals what your soul needs you to be in order to feel complete.

Remarkably, my soul number is a five (5) – a freedom loving adventurer. Hmm, seems I desire freedom and thrive on variety and change. That’s me, alright. I feel my best on a trail, in nature, or traveling and experiencing new places.

Coincidentally, my Destiny Number is a three (3) – a creative self-expressive. Is this a fluke?  I’ve been creative person my whole life, drawing, blogging, and photographing. No wonder I hated my fruitless job – it wasn’t my destiny!

Although Numerology is often considered superstition and a pseudoscience, I got a big kick discovering how my numbers were so relevant to my actual personality. Today, I’ll be a believer and wear that creative, self-expressive, freedom-loving adventure badge proudly!  Just saying…………….