Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Golden Trip Part ll

Jan 27, 2007

Fog. The morning started with the people above us coming
in around 11:00 p.m., and having their children run around
until 12:47 a.m. Not much sleep for us, as we were up
before 6:00. Albuquerque was shrouded in dense fog, but
we left after breakfast around 8:00, and the sun burned
it off as we went, by about 8:45. The day was clear and
warm, around 40 most of the day. This leg of the trip
has many sights and excursions one can take, with the first
sight at Laguna. Here you will find the only white
mission I have ever seen. There must be more, but out
in the middle of nowhere like it is, it must have been
an eye catcher for travelers in the wilderness, as it
sticks out and can be seen for miles around. White eye
catchers were used frequently by the Spanish to mark trails.

Around Grants, N.M. you will find several roads that go
off to the north announcing the Bandero Volcano. Along
the road, here, you will see where the lava has bubbled
up out of the earth's crust instead of flowing. Also in this
area, the mesa colors turn from the desert beiges to reds
and oranges.

Another oddity is the fact that the continental divide
is here at mile marker 47, a much lower elevation
than at Flagstaff where you might have expected to find
it. You will also see the beginnings of spires that tell
of Monument Valley and Chaco Canyon located to the north.
The Indian jewelry centers in Gallup could take a week to
visit all by themselves.

In Arizona you can see TeePee's, the Painted
Desert, the Petrified Forest, and the largest Petrified
Tree in the world. Notice, also, the layers of red and
green sediment in the rock in the cuts along the highway.
Indian markets are numerous all the way to Winslow. You
remember Winslow, Arizona, don't you? It was immortalized
in song.

After you leave Winslow, the landscape begins to roll.
You think you are in the foothills of Flagstaff Mountain,
which is looming in the distance, but, you would be wrong.
You see, you are approaching the rare and nicely preserved
natural landmark of a meteor crater. Off to the south
of the highway, about a mile away, you can see the rim of
the crater. Get off at exit 233 at crater city and go see
this wonder of the southwest. The crater is about 2 1/2
miles around, 550 feet deep, and 4,000 feet across. Those
rolling hills you have just been through are the consentrical
rings around the impact site, much like the rings a pebble
makes when thrown into water.

While we are marveling once again at the crater, we find
the scrub brush turning to Ponderosa pine and know that we
must begin our watch for the Elk herds that abound around
the big mountain. At Flagstaff we turn south down highway
17 towards Camp Verde where one of the desert forts was
located. Montezuma's Castle, a very well preserved group
of cliff dwellings, and Montezuma's Well are all located at
Camp Verde. From here it is a short trip to the top of the
hill, then west across the mountain range to Humbolt and our
next week's adventures in the Bradshaw's Here, also, the
cactus start to show up. Further south there are sauguaro and
joshua trees. Both large cacti survive there where the
Mojave and Sonoran deserts merge.

We hear we missed all the snow in Denver today. Too bad.
We've never seen snow before! LOL!
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