Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Three National Monuments near Flagstaff, Arizona

Today we continued our drive to visit every National Park and National Monument we can get to.  Today we started at Walnut Canyon, followed by Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments.  They are all located east and north of Flagstaff, Arizona.

                                                                                               Walnut Canyon
Walnut Canyon had 276 stair to climb in each direction, therefore there was no way Debbie could do it.  So, we walked to the rim of the canyon and took a long shot of just one of the dwellings built into the cliff wall.  Just imagine how the native Indians made their way there.
About half way down you can see dwellings built in the canyon
                                                                       Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Stop number two was Sunset Crater.  This crater hasn't erupted in centuries, but when it did, it spewed out a lot of lava.  On our way to the crater we passed several miles of lave beds, or lava flows.  Once you get near the crater you see billions smaller pieces of cinders.  A black landscape covers miles of terrain.

Our first view of Sunset Crater Volcano from a distance

Part of the miles of lava flow
Miles of lava with the crater in the far distance

                                                                                Wupatki National Monument
The last stop was Wupatki National Monument which consists of thousands of acres with five pueblos and one set of cliff dwellings.  We visited only two of the pueblos.  They are amazing.  The first was Wukoki Pueblo, built out in the middle of nowhere on top of several large rocks.  It was built up high so that they could see the surrounding area as if they were in a tower.  It is the smallest of the pueblos, probably housing less that 50 Indians.  We believe that that lived there between 1100 and 1210 and moved when their well or spring went dry.   This place was awesome.

Built upon the rocks gives a great view of the surrounding landscape
The backside
Debbie squeezing through the front door

Debbie looking out a window toward the painted desert, 50+ miles away
From this citadel you can see for miles

1000 years have passed and the pueblo walls are sturdy and strong
The last stop for today was at the largest of the pueblos in Wupatki National Monument, Wupatki Pueblo.  Its believed that hundred people lived here from about 1110 to 1210.  This large pueblo, like many others protected its occupants from enemies and animals by entering each room from the roof via a ladder, which could be moved to stop entry.  This pueblo had at least 40 resident rooms and larger meeting and community rooms.
Ceilings had wood beams with mortar

Built mostly up against and on rocks, it was a large pueblo

An artists rendering of what the pueblo looked like 1000 years ago
The large circle with an entry is believed to be a meeting area
An artists rendering of what the meeting area looked like
A view of three rooms (without the roof)

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