Saturday, April 28, 2012

One-Stop Shopping for Saturday Snapshot



Saturday Snapshot is a fun meme hosted by Alyce on her blog, At Home With Books. If you'd like to see the goodies that other participants have posted, or if you'd like to join in the fun, check out the rules and regs.



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This week, I thought I'd share some photos from one of my favorite Arizona trips with Denis. If you head up to northern Arizona, you can do some one-stop shopping by traveling up US 89, and taking the turn-off on the right to Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater. (Actually traveling US 89 from one end to the other would be a wonderful trip. It links seven National Parks and fourteen National Monuments!)

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is the youngest in a string of volcanoes in the San Francisco volcanic field. Flagstaff, Arizona, lies at the foot of the San Francisco Peaks, which are an extinct stratovolcano complex. Here's a bit of trivia for anyone who's interested: Arizona has two of the three largest  volcanic fields in the continental United States, the San Francisco (#2) and the Springerville (#3) volcanic fields. Depending on the time of day and the light, Sunset Crater can glow orange or plum, and when Denis and I visited, it was deep plum laced with snow.

But before you can get to Sunset Crater, you have to drive through the Wupatki National Monument-- one of my very favorite places in Arizona. The Sinagua people lived here before, during and after Sunset Crater erupted. From various vantage points throughout the land, you can see the Painted Desert, the snow-capped San Francisco Peaks, and cinder cone volcanic remnants.

The day we explored Wupatki, it was a cold January morning, and the rabbits were out in full force. Walking along the foot paths, it was easy to see how well- populated this area was hundreds of years ago. (Click on any photo to view it full size.)

A few of the many ruins at Wupatki. How many do you see?


The Citadel is a pueblo atop a hill with wonderful views of the surrounding country. It has often been closed to the public because golden eagles sometimes nest and raise young there. You can see that the inhabitants used some of the black volcanic rocks in building Nalakihu Pueblo at the foot of the hill.

Nalakihu Pueblo and the Citadel

The star, of course, is Wupatki, a pueblo containing over 100 rooms, a ball court, and a geological blowhole. 800 years ago, this was the largest pueblo around.


A slice of Wupatki showing the ball court




Wupatki may be the star, but my favorite ruin is Wukoki. I guess it speaks to the small town girl in me. (Plus, it has a better view!)


Wukoki

By the time Denis and I arrived at Sunset Crater, it was not optimal viewing time. You see... it was snowing. A lot. But we did get a few shots of the lava fields here and there. Even after hundreds of years, the lava is sharp and impossible to walk over, and there are still many areas in which nothing grows.


Sunset Crater...about to get more snow.

A tiny section of the lava fields at Sunset Crater.

I hope you enjoyed this whirlwind tour of one of my favorite areas in Arizona. If any of you like to read letters, there is an excellent book, Letters from Wupatki, written by Courtney Reeder Jones. Her letters were written beginning in 1938 when she and her husband actually lived in the ruins and worked to stabilize the walls.

60 comments:

  1. Oh wow! Old ruins like that are just so cool. Always makes me wonder about the people who built them.

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    1. Same here, Trish! My imagination can run wild.

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  2. Those are some amazing photos and I'm embarassed to say I've never explored that part of the country very much. Thanks for taking me there. Here's Mine

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the virtual tour, Paulita!

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  3. What an amazing piece of history. I've never been there.

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    1. I'm glad I could introduce you, Diane!

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  4. Oh, Cathy, this is gorgeous!! Wow! Such beautiful spots and so majestic and woven through with history too. Thank you for sharing such a lovely pair of places with us.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour, Margot!

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  5. I've never been to the southwest and the landscape is so different there from anything I've ever seen. Thanks for sharing photos of the area - it's gorgeous!

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  6. I've never been to that part of Arizona, so thank you so much for the tour. Lovely pictures.

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  7. I haven't been to this part of Arizona, but have enjoyed some other areas. A beautiful state with lots of historic facts. Thanks for sharing....and here's MY SATURDAY SNAPSHOT

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  8. Arizona looks incredible! What lovely pics to share with us all, thank you :)

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair

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    1. Arizona is incredible. I love living here! Glad you enjoyed the tour, Megan!

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  9. I love Arizona and visiting these sacred ruins scattered around the state. We will likely make a long driving trip there in November.

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    1. I may be biased, but there's no better place to visit. I hope you get to visit in November... and that you have a wonderful time!

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  10. It's times like this when I wish I could 'time travel' back to the height of that civilization and witness what those people lived like, what those building looked like and how they functioned in their heyday! Thanks for these shots, my imagination went wild!

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    1. Your imagination works much the same as mine, Susan!

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  11. What wonderful color! I especially like the Wukoki shot--I just saw another Snapshot with a castle, and it's a fun contrast.

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    1. Yes, I think that was Margaret's shot of Bamburgh Castle. I hope to visit it one day soon!

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  12. I've actually been to Wupatki!!! We were there in early morning and I felt like I was surrounded by Indians arising for the day. Guess I'm impressionable but I've felt that way in Civil War battlefields too. Nice photos.

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    1. I get those same feelings from time to time, Barbara.

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  13. That's one of those places I've heard about but never really known much or seen photos, so I thank you for this tour! My youngest son was interested too and sat next to me looking at all of the photos and asking questions.

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    1. I'm glad your son enjoyed this post, too, Alyce!

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  14. That ball court thing is an engineering marvel! Excellent pictures.

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  15. Nice - I love the AZ desert & sky! Great pictures! I'm a new follower!

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  16. Fascinating. I do love to explore ruins. Somehow I've managed to not know all this history or about Sunset Crater.

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    1. Leslie, this is a big country. I know there are hundreds of spots I know nothing about!

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  17. These photos are amazing! I've never been to Arizona either. I live in NY state and the only time I've been west was trips to San Diego and Denver. Someday I'm going to really have to travel more! Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures!

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  18. What a great trip to take!! Your photos are beautiful!
    Here's My Photo

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  19. LOVE the Southwestern United States!! These are great photos and I'd love to read Letters from Wupatki...and then go see it myself :)

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  20. Thanks for the virtual tour. I'd like to make it out west one of these days...not sure if it's going to happen. These ruins are very cool!

    Here's my Snapshot: http://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2012/04/saturday-snapshot-april-28.html

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  21. Gorgeous pics! I looked through them twice!

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  22. Beautiful, Cathy. I know so little about the west - it constantly amazes me.

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    1. It constantly amazes me, too, Debbie-- and I live here.

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  23. Those are amazing photos of an amazing place!

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  24. Thank you for the photos and very nice narration.
    My wife and I have seen Casa Grande and one Aztec ruins on our way from Silvertone, Colorado to Santa Fe, New Mexico and Santa Fe to Los Angeles on the way. back.
    The ruins still shown the architecture and archeological history.

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    1. The architecture is simply amazing, and one of the reasons why I love seeing them so much.

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  25. You took me back in time. Its been years since I've been to Sunset Crater. I'm sure we probably went to Wupatki too, but I can't remember. There are loads of great places in that area.

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  26. What lovely photos. It looks an amazing place to visit.

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  27. Fantastic Cathy - I love ruins. I'd love to see them in person.

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    1. Perhaps one day you'll get the chance. :-)

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  28. I haven't been up to that part of the state in years - but I remember being astonished by how COLD the blowhole at Wupatki is. Natural refrigeration! :)

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    1. One of the times we visited, our niece from England was with us. She made the mistake of standing over the blowhole, and her skirt flew over her head! (And yes, it was cold! LOL)

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  29. That looks amazing! I want to go there and see it!
    here is mine: http://ratherbarefoot.blogspot.se/2012/05/saturday-snapshot.html

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    1. I hope you get a chance to see Wupatki and Sunset Crater, Sandra!

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