June 24: Sunset crater National Park

I went out the inn to take a walk around the town. The sky is blue and the air is refreshing. We may enjoy a wonderful day as well.
I walked about for ten minutes up to the foot of a hill of Flagstaff. It is very cool in the morning. As I wear only a T-shirt, I had goose bumps. The elevation of the town is about 7,000 ft.
The inn is located at a block from the main road which is paralleled with a railroad. Sometimes I see a long freight train which jerks along noisily.
After a simple breakfast, we vigorously started. We soon view the highest peak in Arizona state, Humpherys, stands 12,643 ft, 55 meter higher than Mt. Fuji in Japan. There is a ski area on the slope.
We visited Sunset Crater Volcano. There is an entrance gate stationed by a ranger. We paid $3 a vehicle for the fee. The receipt is attached on the inner side of the front glass as a certificate of the payment. We first visit the visitor center to get an overall information or seeing video before going to the site.
There are rangers in the center and kindly answer to the questions of the visitors. The volcano is a part of San Francisco(the name of the founder) Peaks Volcanic Field.
The volcanoes in the field repeatedly erupted for 200 years, starting in 1064-1065 AD. This is a lava flow filling around with black rocks.
WUPATKI ruin.

A ruin of Sinagua Indian who lived from 600 AD to 1150 AD in the volcano field. At the entrance of the trail is a box selling a pamphlet for $1. In the pamphlet are numbered explanations corresponding to the numbered stops of the trail.

A distant view of the ruins of the dwellings. Many ideas were made to construct the housings like living room, storage, and burial site using sun baked bricks. About 100 people were living in the dwellings. Many potteries and stone tools are unearthed from here.
The amphitheater, about 50 feet in diameter, most likely served as a ceremonial gathering place accommodating hundreds of people. The structure seemed to have echoed well enough all attendants. Lava flows and several feet of cinders and rock obliterated their farmland in the immediate vicinity of Sunset Crater. But just a few decades after the eruption, the Sinagua discovered that they could grow crops in previously uncultivated terrain. Not far north of the corn, a combination of forces was at work: a thin ash layer from the volcano absorbed precious moisture, helped prevent evaporation, and conserved heat, slightly lengthening the growing season. Whether it was because of disease, dispersal of the life-producing ash cover, depletion of natural resources, or an extensive drought beginning in 1150, Wupatki's mosaic of cultures had disbanded by about 1225.
We continued drive west heading Grand Canyon. On the way, we came across an area surrounded by a long continuous fence. In the fence are sparsely dotted house. This is Navajo Indian preserve. They opened on-the-road souvenir shops selling native art crafts.
We dropped in some of the open shops that display pendant, hair ornament, earring, and good-luck charm. I got a bracelet of turquoise.
There are many imitation of unearthed old design pottery from the ruin. So called "Sand painting" is beautiful as well. It is painted with powdered color rock.
Little Colorado River Gorge. Colorful rock layers make a deep valley down to the Colorado River. This is a natural art made by Colorado River's rapids.
There is a watch tower made for visitors. Inside of the tower is decorated with many wall paints drawn by native Indian artists. The design is the heritage of Indian tribes.

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