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Magnum Travel, Inc.

Since 1978

Kathy Noltze, President

Wupatki National Monument

with stops at

Wukoki Pueblo, Painted Desert,

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

 

photos by

Kathy Noltze

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Farmers raised crops in these fields at least 400 years before the volcano erupted one thousand years ago.   Two lava flows from the blast killed all in their paths. Ash from the eruption was flung over 800 square miles of Arizona.

   Nature reclaimed the cinder soils as foliage gradually  returned.

    Nine hundred years ago, farmers migrated to this area after the volcano ceased its surface activity and they built what we now call Wupatki.

    The largest structure had about 100 rooms. Some are sufficiently in tact for present-day explorers to grasp the skills and lives of  these early settlers.  How did they make mortar to stick the rocks together? As they chiseled rocks, did they appreciate views of the painted desert? Where was their architecture school?

    On an overcast day in April 2012, I drove from Flagstaff to my vacation in ruins.

 

 

The Community Room: a family room of the 1100s.

 

Ballcourt: they played a game with a hoop and rubber ball.

I thought rubber was a modern-day invention but it has been

harvested for various uses since at least 1600 BC.

 

 

Oh look!  A native!

 

 

 

Wukoki Ruins

 

A thousand years ago, architects used mortar to construct double walls,

then filled the space between the walls with rubble for further insulation.

 

 

Painted Desert

The trail through Sunset Crater and Wupatki takes you through the

Navajo Nation Reservation on the west periphery of the Painted Desert.

 

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

Walk, bike, or drive through the lava flow

The volcano that gave it up.

 

 

 

Snow on the San Francisco Mountains

Coconino National Forest in foreground

Little Colorado River Gorge

 

East Entrance was opened about 2008.

 

Grand Canyon Viewing Tower

 

Desert View visitors' point near the east entrance of the Grand Canyon.

It is not as congested as the main entrance on the south rim, but it's just as dynamic.

 

 

 

Lowell Observatory - Pluto Exhibit

Flagstaff

 

 

 

 

 

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These pueblos were built nine centuries ago, nine hundred years in the past. Will someone poke around my house nine hundred years in the future? Better get home and tidy up.

 

   After the volcano erupted,  the earth stopped trembling in this area and, people returned to build dwellings for thousands of residents.

    Two hundred years later, this desolate neighborhood of harsh weather lay barren, its people dispersed. Our Native Americans are some of their descendants.

 

   In archeology parlance, a thousand years ago is quite recent. Wisconsin's Silver Mound, for instance, dates back at least 12,000 years.

    Sunset Volcano erupted around the year 1040, the year Lady Godiva made her famous naked ride. Over in China, they were inventing printing with wood blocks at this time.

 

Cameron, Arizona

     Dining facilities at the visitors' center are two vending machines. Rather than return to civilization in Flagstaff, I embarked on another adventure and turned north to Cameron, Arizona to dine. There were no wrong turns for me as Highway 89 is the only road on the plateau. It took me through part of the Painted Desert.    

     Cameron is on the Navajo Nation. It has little more than an intersection with the road that leads to the east entrance of the Grand Canyon. The lone restaurant seems to be Cameron Trading Post.

     Tour buses and cars with out-of-state plates filled the parking lot.

     Its veneer is deceiving. With the sign that bawls "Tourist trap!" and a colossal souvenir shop to navigate to get to the restaurant, I expected typical fake cowboy fare on the menu, but that was not the case. My giant chef's salad was tasty and as I ate, platters piled high with various Mexican and American dishes were delivered to other patrons.

     Little Colorado River trickles through Cameron behind the Trading Post on its way to the big river in the Grand Canyon. Views are wide-ranging.