As I Wait

4 August 2012 in Memories, Trails/Hiking, Traveling

 

Last week I sent Dan and my friend home to Wisconsin and I have been by myself for a week. I haven’t been by myself this long, ever. I have always had someone in the house with me. This week it was me and the cats. Dun dun. Those poor cats. I don’t think I ever stopped picking on them. They are just too cute for their own good. I did however keep myself occupied this whole time by visiting some National Monuments, cleaning the house, cooking, and working of course. And to my surprise, I never went to the store or went out for ice cream. That’s pretty good for being on my own.

What We Do to the Mountains.....The day of Dan’s departure via Amtrak in Flagstaff, I decided to doodle around town and stop at their health food store to pick up some goodies that little old Page doesn’t have to offer. There is nothing like a big ol’ jar of Veganaise and some nutritional yeast to get my day going. I visited a local shop downtown that is similar to Shakti on State Street in Madison, WI to pick up some lovely smelling incense. I hate the stuff at the grocery store, its not the same.

A View of the San Francisco PeaksOn my way back home, I decided to stop at two of the many National Monuments in the area. And better yet, they are connected so I could drive through one and go see another. My first stop was Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. It was beautiful. You enter the park by also entering the Coconino National Forest. The forest is full of butterscotch smelling ponderosa pines and grassy meadows. A storm was starting to roll in in the distance, which made for some great photos of the San Francisco Peaks.

I made a pit stop at the visitor center to get my National Park passport stamped and to also take a peak at their exhibit. There were some future Junior Rangers getting their books and it made me smile. I should’ve asked for one too but I wanted to get on the trails. I love the idea of Junior Rangers. People of any age can stop into a visitor center to pick up a book where you need complete several activities within the book that pertain to that park in order to receive a Junior Ranger badge or patch. I have one for Death Valley and it was definitely a day I will never forget. Ranger Rose looked over my book and then had me raise my right hand as I recited the oath. I was then sworn in as an official Junior Ranger. I proudly wear that badge today on my camera bag. I left the Visitor Center feeling good knowing that those kids are going to learn something new today along with their parents. And the same goes for myself.

Walking the Lava Flow TrailSunset Crater Volcano National Monument was just beautiful. To get a closer view of Sunset Crater, I hiked the Lava Flow trail. It was an easy 1 mile round trip hike at the base of Sunset Crater where you can walk in the old lava flow. You can actually see how the land is still recovering from the eruption that only happened about 900 years ago. Another neat fact is that Sunset Crater is the youngest of the 600 plus cinder cones in the San Francisco Volcanic Field which is 1800 square miles.

Tree DownMore fun facts: While Sunset Crater Volcano was erupting, two lava flows originated at the base of the cinder cone. The Kana-A Flow (outside the present monument boundary in the Coconino National Forest), broke through the eastern base of of the volcano and flowed more than six miles to the northeast, filling a narrow valley. The Bonito Lava Flow came from the northwest base of the volcano, and pooled over a 2-square-mile area. It is believed to have accumulated, during at least three separate flows, to as much as 100 feet thick. Portions of the cinder cone were carried on top of this flow as far as a mile to the northwest. We know that the cinder cone quickly rebuilt itself through continued eruptions, because there is a layer of cinders on top of both the Kana-A and Bonito flows. In all, a billion tons of material were erupted from the cinder cone and extruded in the two lava flows.

Sunset Crater Volcano National MonumentMost cinder cones form during relatively short eruptions, measured in a few months or years. At the peak of Sunset Crater’s activity, at least 9 other cinder cones, numerous smaller spatter cones and fumaroles, and 3 lava flows were simultaneously active along a 6-mile-long fissure, forming a “curtain-of-fire” style eruption much like those observed today in Hawaii. These volcanic features remain visible as rows of small cinder cones to the southeast along the fissure, and appear to form a line of successively older parts of the overall Sunset Crater eruption.

After my drive through Sunset Crater, I entered the beautiful land of the Wupatki National Monument where there are many ruins. More to come about this area. So stay tuned.

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4 August 2012 Memories, Trails/Hiking, Traveling

1 Comment to As I Wait

  1. You are doing pretty good to NOT go for ice cream when you are by yourself. Funny thing, when I was in the hospital, Jim went every night to Coldstone Creamery and got an ice cream. The man has no self control! And the worst part of it? He TOLD me about it when I couldn’t have it.

  2. Karen on 4 August 2012

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