Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments
I left my $125 Smart Balance tennis shoes outside last night. The dog excrement that didn't come off on the RV carpet was smeared all over the soles. At 5AM, I met a giant gray Weimeraner that is on a long leash and is chewing on my shoes. By the dawn's early light I see six months worth of dog doo next to my RV in various states of decomposition. The dog comes over to have his head scratched.
This is a high desert flower that grows in arid volcanic cinders and ash.
Now I face a existential dilemma. If I complain, the dog may have to wear a shorter leash. So what to do? I imagine my neighbor with Texas plates has lost his job and home and is forced to live in a small trailer with a wife, three kids and a two dogs. To make the consequences fitting, I wipe my tennis shoe soles on the fender of his truck. If you come to Black Bart's RV park in Flagstaff, avoid site number 131.
A piece of Ponderosa Pine in the lava field.
In the morning, we make a run to Sam's club and pick up a new GPS, salmon, lamb chops, chicken breasts, steaks and four bottles of wine for the road.
A flower in the lava field.
Then on to Sunset Crater National monument. The volcano erupted about 1064 AD. It buried some native dwellings. They had time to remove the framing timbers before their homes were buried in black ash. There are about 600 such cinder cones in a 2,000 square mile area bordering the vast Painted Desert to the east. This crater has red minerals in the ash around the summit, which explains the name.
A shot from Wupatki to the South. The San Francisco mountains still have snow, are about 12,000 feet. They're just North of Flagstaff, a wonderfully cool place in the summer.
The new black lava is a frequently encountered feature of Arizona and New Mexico. We see a few small flowers and shrubs and the giant Ponderosa Pines that manage to eke out a living in the high (8,000 feet), arid climate and poor volcanic ash.
Bushes growing in the desert near a Wupatki ruin.
We continue on the 36 mile Loop, and, after passing an overlook of the Painted Desert, come to the Wupatki National Monument. It's a collection of stone Indian (exuse me...Native American) dwellings. One set upon a red sandstone outcropping was three stories. They believe it housed several families. I always get a funny feeling when we visit these and think of happy people turned to dust by time. Maybe someday in the future, tourists will look at my RV and speculate about my life?
Tonight we're having dinner in Black Bart's restaurant. It was recommended by a friend. Tomorrow we visit the Arizona Meteor Crater and the Park in Winslow dedicated to the Eagle's song....It's a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford...slowing down to lake a look at me....
This is Sunset Crater. Notice the red tinge on the summit.