Friday, September 03, 2010

Duh, duh, duh
So a few million years ago this volcano erupted and it spewed lava and ciders for miles around. It is kinda freaky to see a solid black cinder covering a side of a mountain and only a sparse pine tree here and there.
As we pulled down the lane toward the mountain it is a photographer's paradise.
There were at least three people with tripods not including those with just cameras.
Rob called it camera nerds paradise.

Beside this parking lot is a small bridge that spans this lava flow stream.
It was odd to see this one tree growing out of the lava bed.
Now that I can think and not feel rushed I should have stepped onto the other side of this bridge and included the bridge in the picture. I didn't because there was a couple also on the bridge and he was "teaching" his wife about the history of the volcano.

You leave the forests and begin to head into the desert and red rocks. You can see for miles around and yet you could drive right past this community and not know that it was there. Like I have said before, the people that found this place really ransacked it. This is sad because now you don't know what is original and what the park service has fixed. The kids liked walking around it and we talked about how the people might have lived.

This is walnut canyon.
It is hard to tell but this triangle shaped mountain is actually like an island surrounded by cliff dwellings on all sides.
It was 185 ft down and 224 stairs ONE WAY!!
The wind was whipping around us and at spots there was no protection from the edge of the cliffs.
The kids got such a kick out of walking through the rooms and seeing the blackened ceilings and doorways.
Dead trees and flowers were all around. Well I can't forget all the pine trees can I?
You can see where there were popped gas bubbles in the rocks, there were iron geodes that the park ranger pointed out.

The rooms were fairly deep but of course low, since Indians weren't that tall way back when.
I had to duck a couple of times and when we took our little picture my sunglasses almost scraped the ceiling.
Wyatt thought that it was so cool that my head could touch the roof.
Walking around was pretty cool but the climb up really wasn't that bad. Yes, I had to stop a couple of times and once I had a bad pain in my back but otherwise, slow and steady got me up there.

We headed back to town and some dinner. We decided that we would try and find some souvenir T-shirts for Rob and the kids.
Do you know we went to Walmart, Target, CVS and the next morning Walgreens and all they really had were Arizona shirts? A couple of route 66 shirts and one ugly styled flagstaff shirt. So we gave up that dream Sunday morning and after having breakfast at the Crown Railroad cafe we started our way back home.
We took a couple of detours though.
First stop was Montezuma's Well.
I really didn't know what to expect and I ended up letting myself down when I didn't follow Rob and the kids on this small hike carrying Chelsea. Instead I went back to the parking lot with Chels to wait.
I missed some pretty cool stuff. Maybe next time.
It was cute to hear the kids jabbering away about the stuff they saw, which was a stream and butterflies.
This well is fed by 4 natural springs which flow into this river that feeds the valley.
When your on top like this and looking down you don't see all the beauty that is hidden if only you climb down.
We loaded back up to head a few miles down the road to Montezuma's Castle.

Funny, I had know idea that where we were going I had only seen in pictures.
When we parked that river from the well was still flowing miles away.
Unfortunately you couldn't get too close to the river because of rock wall barriers, which is a good thing because recent rains had caused high water and some flooding.

I really wonder about the people who lived here.
You have these small cliff dwellings all around and then you see this huge housing development with levels.
Was it the city center? Was it the chiefs castle?
Imagine all the climbing you would have to do daily?
So after wandering around (it's not big at all) we headed to lunch at Sonic and finally drove the rest of the way home.
We pulled into the driveway after 4 pm and thankfully Rob's mom had brought us some delicious chicken stew and mom had delivered cupcakes.
Yep cupcakes, after all last Sunday was my 35th birthday.

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