Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton

Friday, March 21, 2014

More Trips West 2013--Meteor Crater National Natural Landmark

We did a good bit of traveling at night as we headed out to New Mexico and Arizona in May. This meant that we missed a few sites we wanted to see, so we decided to visit them on the way back home. There were several places near Winslow, Arizona that were not to be missed. These included Meteor Crater Petrified Forest, and Painted Desert (click on the links for more information; you can also check the National Park Service websites for these sites).

Meteor Crater (or Barringer Crater), 37 miles east of Flagstaff and 18 miles west of Winslow is a huge meteor impact crater owned by the Barringer Family and not actually a national park or national monument, which would require federal ownership; however, it was designated a National Natural Landmark in November 1967. The crater was formed about 50,000 years ago when a meteor struck the Earth. Today it is about a mile across, 2.4 miles in circumfrence, and 550 feet deep. Photos made from the ground do not do it justice.  It was extremely windy the day we were there. Normally, crater rim tours are given throughout the day, weather permitting, but it was so windy during our visit that tours were cancelled because of the risk to visitor safety. Here are a few photos.

Just a small portion of the crater. This is a cell phone photo. I wasn't using the panoramic setting because I was making other photos with another camera. One day I will upload all those photos--when I have a lot of time.

Daughter and No. 2 Son getting blown fiercely by the high winds. It was difficult to even hold the camera still to make photos.

Probably my favorite photo of the day, made from the visitor center as we were returning the to car. Lenticular clouds, lens-shaped, stationary clouds that generally do not form in over all types of terrain. I have seen many photos of them, but never seen any in person until our visit to Meteor Crater. This was a real treat. You can see by the shape why folks sometimes think they are UFO's.

Next time: Petrified Forest and Painted Desert

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ok, RG, this one 's for you

Sedona, Arizona. Part of "The Trips West 2013."

Unfortunately, I did not get to spend as much time there as I'd hoped. Suffice it to say that the four or five hours we spent there were enough to make me want to go back. There were many rock shops and New Age shops and restaurants, but the best part was the absolutely beautiful scenery. After making a second trip to Sunset Crater, then driving to the nearby Wupatki Ruins, we drove from Flagstaff down to Sedona in the afternoon along what was one of the most nerve-wracking roads I've ever been on. Narrow, many hairpin turns and switchbacks with towering rock outcroppings on one side and sheer drops on the other. Once we got out of the nightmare portion of the drive, we were treated to a combination of breathtakingly beautiful red rock formations and lush forest trails and camping areas. We arrived in Sedona around 5:00 in the afternoon with a nearly full moon rising in the east. What a lovely sight. It put all the tourist shops and the rest of the town to shame. We wandered the streets a bit, browsed the shops, ate dinner, then returned to Flagstaff. I certainly hope I get to go back soon. 

The road to Sedona. It was like this or worse most of the way there.

Some of the beautiful rock formations along the drive to Sedona

Sedona moonrise

Just a small portion of the shops we saw