AB Adventures – Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monument
Sunset Crater ~
As our family gathered for a wedding in Flagstaff, Arizona my Uncle, an Anthropologist specializing in Native American Indian Tribes, a total bonus, decided to take a couple of family members to visit Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments before the ceremony. A short thirty minutes north of Flagstaff we climbed into the car and headed out. With the sky threatening us with dark clouds and thunder roaring in the distance we arrived at Sunset Crater Volcano. Since our time was limited we enjoyed a quick nature walk and learned Sunset Crater wasn't the only Volcano, as the sign read, "there are many volcanos around you." The land is fertile with native shrubs and flowers which dotted the black lava beds. Volcanos cracked landscapes and rolling black dormant volcanos made up breathtaking panoramic views.
With the weather still on our side, we then drove to Wupatki where the pueblo ruins of people who once called this area home still stood. Wupatki Pueblos were built and occupied during the 1100s. A community that thrived becoming one of the most productive and well-established on the Colorado Plateau. When Sunset Crater erupted the people vacated the area, returning several generations later and taking advantage of the lava-rich soil. Their descendants still live nearby, the Hopi, Zuni and Navajo. With attention to detail and sturdy construction mapping out living quarters, it was easy to imagine Wupatki people sitting around and sharing stories of their days' hunt, or enjoying a game in one of the two ceremonial ball courts.
Located near the ball courts a crevice in the earth’s crust creates what is known as a blow hole. A crack in the earth reacts to barometric pressure above the ground. When outside air is warm and light above, cold air from below blows out with force. However, when the air gets heavy and moist, it reverses itself and sucks air down. This was fun as we took turns putting our faces over the hole and our hair went upward wildly.
If you are going to Flagstaff, I highly recommend journeying just outside and exploring this beautiful place. It's a great place for all.