Larry & Lee Ann's Journey travel blog

On the road this morning heading 17 North...Beautiful day!

Lovely old hotel in Flagstaff...

Loved this church...I really enjoy checking out beautiful churches all over this...

A bit of info for you...

Shadowy I know, but love the message...

Coming in the front entrance...

 

Beautiful stained glass window and organ pipes too...

Time to move on...

Q & A's...

Did you know this?

Inside the Visitor's Center, Joyce is trying to create a 'small' earthquake!

Lare, taking a rest along the Bonita Lava Flow area...

Very pretty in it's own unique way...

Moving along, crater dead ahead...

Still a few patches of snow around...

Now this is a cool tree!

I just like this info sign!

The trail is nicely done and an easy walk...

Note the barren side of the crater...It is coming back, very slowly...

Ah, now I know where I am, LOL!

Still moving along, where did those 3 musketeers go now???

Oh, there they are...Straggling along, lol

Yep, I'm here too! Another great tree, don't you think?

Hope you enjoyed this part of today's trip...See you tomorrow!


Today's post regresses a bit, as we actually visited the Sunset Crater Volcano/Wupatki National Monument loop a week or so ago. John, Joyce, Larry & I met at 9:30am.We'd packed a nice picnic lunch, as we planned to spend a fairly long day away from home. I took enough pics today that I'm actually going to split the post into two sections. Our first stop was in Flagstaff, as we needed to fuel and were hoping it might be a bit cheaper than in Camp Verde. It wasn't! Ah well, it's still not as high as many states currently are, like California we understand. Flagstaff looks like a neat town and the downtown area looked very upscale and fun. Joyce & I wanted to stop and see the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Chapel. It is an especially lovely church complete with gargoyles, huge steeples and a lovely interior. But all too soon we had to move on as our 'real' destination was the crater & ruins.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is the slightly tautological name given to an area northeast of Flagstaff containing the results of much igneous activity - several colorful cinder cones formed by extinct volcanoes, and large expanses of lava and ash, mostly obscured by vegetation and still pure black in color. The dominant peak is Sunset Crater, the most recent in a six-million-year history of volcanic activity in the Flagstaff area, erupting sometime between 1040 and 1100.

As with the other cones, its slopes have distinctive dusky red-brown patches formed by oxidized iron and sulfur, which caused John Wesley Powell, who was the first modern-day explorer of the area in 1887, to name the mountain 'Sunset Peak'. The contrasting colors of the cinders provide the most unusual aspect of the national monument but the jagged and twisted lava fields are also quite spectacular. Sunset, and the neighboring craters, are just one small part of the San Francisco volcanic field, an extensive region of nearly 2,000 square miles that contains some 600 identified volcanoes.

Our first stop was the visitor center where we enjoyed a short film, exhibits and a seismograph station, before moving on down the road, passing a huge expanse of lava, the Bonito Lava Flow. Our next stop was the Lava Flow Trail which was very interesting and informative. Here we learned that the same process that created Sunset Crater also created a sculpture garden of extraordinary forms at its base. As new gas vents opened, spatter cones sprouted from the ground-like miniatures of the volcano itself.

Partially cooled lava, pushing through the cracks in the crust like toothpaste from a tube, solidified into wedge-shaped squeeze-ups, grooved from scraping against harder rock. The entire event may have lasted six months to a year. In a final burst of activity red and yellow oxidized cinders shot out of the vent and fell onto the rim. The colorful glow from these cinders reminded people of a sunset and led to the volcano's name. It really is a unique area. We chose a nice shaded picnic area and enjoyed our lunch before continuing on past the Painted Desert before arriving at the turnoff to the Wukoki Pueblo. But more on that next time! Enjoy...We sure did



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