A Travellerspoint blog


5 Feb – 10 Feb

Flagstaff has a bit of a casual, outdoor kind of feel. It is set at the base of the beautiful San Francisco Peaks, and surrounded by national forests, and you can do almost any outdoor activity you can think of here. Nick and I were here in 1999 and liked it so much then that we decided to come back. We even found San Francisco Street and the backpackers we stayed in 16 years ago. From Flagstaff you can do Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments and so this is what we did on the Sunday.

Walnut Canyon National Monument is about 16k of downtown Flagstaff. The canyon rim elevation is 6,690 ft; the canyon's floor is 350 ft lower. A 1.5k long loop trail descends 185 ft into the canyon passing 25 cliff dwelling rooms constructed by the Sinagua, a pre-Columbian cultural group that lived in Walnut Canyon from about 1100 to 1250 CE. You get a great work out and the cliff dwellings and scenery are beautiful! There are 2 different walks you can do here. If you have to choose one, I would definitely recommend the Island Trail since you get to hike down and see everything up close. These are pretty amazing ruins and makes you wonder how they managed to live in such tough conditions many years ago on cliff walls. 90_20150208_W.._Canyon__6_.jpg

Sunset Crate Volcano
Sunset Crater is a cinder cone located north of Flagstaff. The crater is within the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. Sunset Crater is the youngest in a string of volcanoes that is related to the nearby San Francisco Peaks. Roughly 900 years ago, the eruption of this volcano reshaped the surrounding landscape, forever changing the lives of people, plants and animals. Here you can hike the trail through the lava flow and cinders and at some point, they say the Sinaguas may have grown comfortable approaching the lava flow, and they made an offering: corn. You can see imprints of these ears of corn in hardened lava at the visitor center of Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. These volcanic fields are not moonscapes - they support life. Rivers of hot lava, fire and ash are hard on plants, but it does not take long for life to return. Some archaeologists believe that the buildings at Wupatki were built in the shadow of Sunset Crater after the clans learned they could grow crops there. The cinders served as a mulch, keeping water from evaporating in the hot climate. 90_20150208_S..Pueblos__3_.jpg

Wupatki National Monument
The Wupatki National Monument is rich in Native American ruins. In this part of the National Park, it is one of the warmest driest places on the Colorado Plateau, with little obvious food or water, people lived and others would have visited from far and wide. Continuing on our 60k scenic drive to our final stop was the Wupatki National Monument. This is the site of the Wupatki Pueblo. As you approach the park there is first a small 3 room pueblo on the right. There is a short trail that leads you to the pueblo. Here you are actually able to go inside and explore the rooms and just imagine how it was to live here nearly 1000 years ago. Across the street is the Visitors Center and behind the center is the Wupatki Pueblo.
Wupatki Pueblo is the largest pueblo in the park. Here you can take a stroll around the 100 room pueblo. People gathered here during the 1100s, gradually building this 100-room pueblo with a community room and ball court. By 1182, perhaps 85 to 100 people lived at Wupatki Pueblo, the largest building for at least 80k. Within a day’s walk, a population of several thousand Wupatki people could be found. 20150208_S..Pueblos__9_.jpg

On Saturday we take part in the first annual Flagstaff Chocolate Walk and finish the evening with a BBQ dinner. We are told that Chocolate Walk participants can get a taste of all the chocolate the town has to offer. The Flagstaff Visitor Center gave out "chocolate passports" to mark off while visiting more than 30 participating businesses. We register at the Visitors Centre and Alyssa gets her hand stamped and is given a map and a passport. We then visit businesses on the map, where she can try free chocolate and purchase more for a discount, then collect a stamp. Each stamp is worth a certain number of points, and at 50 points, she could have been entered into a raffle to win prizes (more chocolate we suspect). We didn’t enter the competition, but we had a great time wandering around old town Flagstaff for the day.

That night we went to a BBQ joint (Nick’s choice) in the basement of an old building and tucked away behind a funky women’s clothing store so the clothes smell like BBQ. Apparently Big Foot BBQ has been Flagstaff's best BBQ for over six years. I think we can agree to that statement. It was yummy! bigfoot.png

Posted by V3USA 07:21

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