Thursday, July 9, 2009

Craters and Canyons

We had a very nice little vacation this week. We left Monday morning and headed towards Flagstaff. Since the room wasn't available until 3:30 we did some sightseeing on the way.

Our first stop (after some confusion over which crater we were going to) was Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. The wonderful smell of pine hit us right when we opened our doors at the visitor center. We took the lava flow trail hike that meandered around the base of the volcano through lava rocks. Then a short drive to the Wupatki Pueblo trail. This was a quick walk to some of the best preserved pueblos I have ever seen. I even learned something!
Then to the hotel to check in. We stayed at the Ski-lift Lodge at the base of the SanFrancisco Peaks. The room was a cute little cabin under the pine trees. It was so quiet here. Our only complaint was the room was so tiny there was no room for a table and chairs so the only place to sit was on a bed. But since we didn't spend much time in the room this wasn't a big problem.
After dinner in historic Flagstaff we headed up to the Lowell Observatory. (Pluto was discovered here) We watched an interesting film, checked out the on hands exhibits. Athena weighs over 200 pounds on some planets! We got to look through some of the big telescopes. We even saw a star before it got dark! This was a really fun place to visit.
The next day we were up bright and early and headed for the Grand Canyon. The weather was wonderful! We started hiking along the rim trail at Bright Angel Lodge. The views were amazing and since most of the visitors chose to ride the shuttle from point to point we had the canyon all to ourselves most of the time! I think we went an hour once without seeing another person. Poor Athena was really a trooper though hiking over 7 miles that day!
Before we headed home we had to use our free tickets for the skyride! Snowbowl has one lift open to ride to the top of Arizona. The views were amazing, we could even see the Grand Canyon from up top. And the ride down was actually chilly. I am trying to remember that feeling now back in the valley and 110 degrees!
One last stop at Meteor Crater. Yes it is the best preserved meteorite impact site on the planet. Yes it is amazing to think how big and how fast the meteor was moving when it hit. But was it worth the $32 (that's with a discount coupon!) admission price? Not really. Especially when the big hole in the ground we saw the day before was much more impressive!

It was a fun vacation and it was very nice to get out of the heat for a few days. We did really miss Hailey though. Hopefully she won't have work conflicts the next time we go out of town.

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