Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wandering Home, New Mexico

I finally dragged Annie, scratching and clawing out of Arizona.  We stopped in western New Mexico and stayed two nights in a one room cabin just out of the town of Glenwood.  Our first hike took us up a slot canyon called Alma Creek.  Evening light made the adventure even more dream like.  A must see place. At the mouth of the canyon we found the above fence post being eaten by a large tree, sort of taking back its own kind.

This area is a little death valley with all its interesting rock formations except it has water.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Not all roughing it.

Our daughter Faith gifted us with an evening at Camp La Paloma. Yes that's Starbucks coffee.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona

A trip to northern Arizona should always include the Sedona area.

Wupatki National Monument

About 30 miles north of Sunset Crater are ancient puebloan dwellings.  Built nearly 1000 years ago it is amazing that so many of the walls are still standing.  The stone work is magnificant. The lines of the walls are beautiful.

It is rugged country and was dry when the inhabitants lived here.  The Navaho's still live just north of here.  I mentioned the wind earlier.  The picture below is the back side of the dust storm blowing out over the Navaho Nation. We were glad to be up wind.

Sunset Crater Volcano

After attending a memorial in Scottsdale for Annie's beloved Aunt Janet and we continued onto a fantastic road trip with our daughter Faith north to the Flagstaff area.  We were searching for a meteor crater (we will have to return to complete that mission, missed by about 50 miles) and ended up at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument just north of Flagstaff.  Unlike the Chiricahua's this volcano erupted only 800 years ago. It was really windy which actually added to the experience of the area.  The snowy peak in the top picture is Mount Humphrey's at 12,633, the tallest mountain in AZ and another volcano.
Native Americans were living in the area during the eruptions.  The volcanic ash that settled on the surrounding land actually supported Native Americans agriculture for another century by adding nutrients to the soils.
Archeological discoveries indicate that there were enough earth quakes before the actual explosion that the Natives had moved out of the pit houses that were buried under ash flows.

The volcano spewed ash and had side vent lava flows.

Chiricahua Mountains

East of the Dragoon Mountains are the Chiricahua Mountains which includes the Chiricahua National Monument.  These are volcanic mountains including the remnants of a volcanic rim and the ash that it blew out. (This happened millions of years ago and erosion has exposed the solidified ash flows into columnar pillars) Rising up out of the desert to around 9000 ft. there is water that flows in the creeks.  We found this abandoned orchard in bloom up Turkey Creek. Turkeys have been reintroduced here and they were gobbling just on the other side of these trees.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Paintings, Cochise Stronghold

Two oils from Cochise Stronghold

Paintings, Saguaro East

Two oil paintings from Saguaro East National Park

Cochise Stronghold

The Dragoon Mountains in South East Az were a hideout for Cochise and his Apache tribe.  The eroded volcanic ash rocks create a complex maze of canyons and hidden valleys.
The valleys are covered with a complex of oaks and other vegetation.  We camped for three nights and enjoyed every minute.

Agave's can really grow large in the right conditions.
We took an afternoon hike on a less traveled trail and discovered caves with pictographs on the ceilings. They were small overhangs with black smoke still on the ceilings in the backs of the caves.  A very magical experience to see these paintings on the rocks.