Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day 5: Wupatki

Wupatki Ruins

Waupatki is WAY OUT from Flagstaff, a good 30 miles northeast and we almost did not drive there but I am so glad we did. It became my Mother’s personal favorite of all the ruins we visited. The drive itself, while long, is very scenic and is a loop so you don’t have to backtrack that much.

The route goes right by Sunset Crater National Monument, a volcanic cinder cone. My Father really wanted to see this site, but it was so chilly and windy that we only took a short 1/3-mile trail. I have been there before and the 1-mile trail through the lava beds in very interesting.

Sunset crater last erupted between 1040 and 1100, a final hiccup in a long 6-million year history of volcanic activity in the Flagstaff area. The ash and tremors drove the local 400-year old Sinaguan population from the area. They did not return for a 100 years.

Wupatki National Monument contains at least 5 sets of ruins. Finally reaching our limit on ruins, hard to believe I know, we only stopped at the main one. This pueblo sits out on a plain several thousand feet below the plateau that Sunset Crater sits on. In the distance you can see Arizona’s painted desert.

There are two circular structures, which farther north I would call a Kiva, that served as community centers. The pueblo itself is multi-story, which is always fascinating to me. How these peoples, who did not have the wheel, were able to build apartment complexes is quite amazing if you spend more than two seconds thinking about it.

Community Room

The red rocks, blue skies, endless vistas that surround this sight make it a worthy spot if you are in the Flagstaff area.

Looking east out into the Painted Desert

No comments: