Wow! Summer got away from me there. I haven’t posted to the blog in four months, but I have gotten a Masters degree, a new job, and moved on to a new adventure! So I am welcoming a new main character to this story – Flagstaff, Arizona. Now I have a new mission: get to know everything that makes my new home amazing.
For my first expedition, I went to explore two of the National Monuments on the outskirts of Flag: Wupatki and Sunset Crater. Both have stories to tell about the incredible geological and human history that builds the foundation of this area.
First up was Wupatki! This monument was established to protect ancient pueblo sites – established and lived in around 1100 – 1200 AD. The first few of the sites I visited were perched on the edges of wide cracks in the earth. Interpretive signs said that these people used the ground at the bottom of these areas to collect rainwater and as their farmlands.
I also saw the coolest lizard I’ve ever seen there! A bright teal collared lizard posed for me with little care. It was a fun treat because I am not too accustomed to seeing reptiles out and about.
The most impressive pueblo at the site was the Wupatki pueblo. It had 100 rooms, a retaining pool, and a ball pit! Archaeologists think that 80 – 100 people lived there in it’s heyday. Today’s Hopi people trace their roots back to the pueblo’s who lived at Wupatki.
Next on the loop was Sunset Crater National Monument. The area north of Flagstaff is peppered by cinder cones – ancient volcanos who’s eruptions left conic piles of ash on the landscape. Sunset Crater is the most recent of these volcanos, erupting about 900 years ago.
What’s especially cool about the Sunset Crater eruption is that people were around to see it! The inhabitants of Wupatki and pueblos all over the area saw and reacted to it. Ash from this event probably made areas around the volcano easier to farm. That’s pretty neat!
These two treasures are just the first on my to-do list. I am so excited to explore more and see everything this area has to offer.