Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall Vacation 2009, Day 7

Day 7 found Dave and I heading to points South, leaving the rest of the family to head to Colorado and then on to Kansas.

Our first stop of the day was Pipe Springs National Monument, in the Arizona Strip. This was a source of spring water in the dessert plains, and a place with a history of heartbreak, first for the Paiute Indians, and then for the Mormon settlers. We toured this Mormon settlement with a Paiute guide. This is a fascinating and profoundly sad period of history. Did you know, Gentle Reader, that the Paiute Indians are lactose intolerant, and after Brigham Young told his followers it was fine to take the Paiute children (to keep them from starving and to provide household help), many infants died due to the lactose problems? Fascinating, but so sad. The Mormon settlers (one husband, 6 or so wives, 30 or so people in all) diverted the stream into a spring room and made dairy products which they kept cold there for transport to Salt Lake City and St. George, until the US government decided the land was good for something, and then there is a whole other sad chapter.

As we continued to drive south, we passed through much red rock territory, and portions of the painted dessert, and crossed Navajo Bridge south of Glen Canyon Dam. The territory was constantly changing, but constantly beautiful. Our next stop was Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater National Monument, just north of Flagstaff.

There were several sets of fascinating pre-Puebloan ruins at Wupatki, all just beautiful in the mellow fall sunlight.

The area is surrounded by dormant cinder cones associated with Sunset Crater: former home of the large volcano that formed this part of the topography.

And as the sun set, we headed for Flagstaff, a hot meal and a warm bed.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Mrs. Edwards said...

I've been meaning to tell you how much I'm enjoying these vacation posts. You took off on your trip right around the time I was watching the PBS National Parks documentary, which made me even more envious and wishing I was in your suitcase!

We had hoped to go see the Grand Canyon next year, but our new baby coming has disrupted our plans. Although I have seen the Grand Canyon as a child, I was really looking forward to seeing more of the southwest, including Zion National Park and some other sights. Thanks for the virtual tour! I've enjoyed it vicariously.