Saturday, October 18, 2014

Day 5: Aspens & Remembrance

 On this day, we visited Sunset Crater, a dormant volcano, and saw a cinder field with many flowers and views of the aspens on the mountains in the distance. The air was crisp and clean and smelled of evergreens. We drove down a forest road until our sedan was stopped by a washout. Then we went up Humphrey's Peak towards the Snowbowl ski area and hiked some trails around Aspen Corner. The aspens were glorious! It was quite chilly up there, it's around 9,000 feet. That night I took photos of Mitch at two places where he used to play music gigs when he lived in Flagstaff, the Monte Vista hotel lounge and the Weatherford Hotel.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Day 4: Meteor Crater, Petrified Forest, Turquoise Room

This day was Mitch's birthday! We went to Meteor Crater which was very interesting, and learned the history of the crater, the people who studied it, and how science advanced due to their work. We touched an actual piece of the meteor and saw a test capsule.
At Homolovi State Park, we saw a ruin on a mesa with potsherds on the ground from when the Puebloans lived there.
Then we went to the Petrified Forest, which was wonderful! The petrified wood looks like agate. It formed when the area was a swamp. Trees that fell were moved into piles by water and covered with mud and volcanic ash. The water dissolved the silica in the ash and that seeped into the tree cells and petrified them.  They sunk even deeper in the mud. Later, geologic upheaval pushed the trees to the surface, which is why they are in pieces. It's fascinating. We had a good hike there and drove at dusk through the Painted Desert.
Hot and sweaty, we still braved our way into the Turquoise Room which is a restaurant in La Posada hotel in Wislow with a James Beard award winning chef. There, we had piki bread, a Hopi specialty that the restaurant purchases from one woman. It's made from blue cornmeal and thickened with ashes from burning bean plants. The thin batter is cooked on a stone. It was light like phyllo dough (without the butter) and brittle. It came with tepary bean hummus. Traditionally, piki bread is served with a tepary bean soup. We finished off the meal with a birthday double chocolate soufflĂ©.
In Winslow, it was fun to see the Wigwam Motel and a second hotel with a neon sign that reads: "Sleeping on the corner in Winslow, Arizona. TV, tubs, showers, refrigeration."


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Day 3 Northern Arizona: Ruins

On our third day, we hiked down Walnut canyon and saw cliff dwellings there. I was surprised I got some vertigo. The trail was right along the edge of the cliff and the other side had rocks with a swirled pattern, which was created by the blowing sand which finally became the rocks.

After lunch, we drove to Wukoki ruin, former home of the Sinagua people.

The doors were very short.

Then we went to Wupatki ruin, where there is a blowhole that blows cool air up from the earth.

Wukoki ruin was originally 3 stories high.

We climbed up the Citadel ruin on a small mesa.

And ended the day walking to three ruins in a box canyon. The moon rose and we could hear coyotes yipping in the distance, and a rabbit ran out in front of us and froze.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Grand Canyon Day

On our first full day, we drove from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon. We stopped at the Little Colorado canyon overlook on the Navajo reservation, then on to the Grand Canyon where we saw the Tusayan tower, had a picnic at an overlook, walked on the rim and saw mule deer, rabbits, and the mules that take tourists down into the canyon. That night we had dinner in Flagstaff with a local friend who Mitch hadn't seen in 15 years.