Thursday, February 22, 2007


On Sunday after the Ralph Stanley show, we headed out for more culture of a different kind.
Stephan and Marianne friends from Darwin who have moved and stored all their stuff while they travel for the next 3 months came visiting for a few days.

Drove out East to Sunset Crater and Wupakti National Monument. Sunset Crater is the aftermath of a volcano that went off about 800 years ago. All lava flows and black cinders giving the place a moon landscape feel.

From there we wended our way down into the the desert. All red earth and sage bushes. Wupakti is a Pueblo Indian complex built in the 12th century. My most favorite structure is a stand alone building called Wukoki. I've been here four times. It awes me. Its beautiful.

The day was overcast so the contrast between the blue sky and red rocks was lost sadly, but its still impressive.

A couple of miles down the road is the main large complex Wupatki, 100 rooms with ball courts and blow hole.They think 100 people lived there at its peak, and seemed to be a large trading center with item like copper bells from Mexico, shell beads, and the remains of more than 40 macaws from Mesoamerica.

This was really cool. A natural blowhole which was blowing a gale. When the pressure outside is lower than inside the underground cavern it blows, the other way it sucks.

It does not snow very often there cause its only about 5000 feet, but when it does I'm there. I've seen photos of it in snow and its stunning. Also the Grand Canyon in snow. Its my goal.

Monday was Presidents Day, but Rob still worked, someone has to feed me. I went with Stephan and Marianne out to Petrified Forest National Park/Painted Desert, a couple of hours towards New Mexico.
A whole huge forest turned to stone. Somehow in that area were the exact conditions to transform acres of trees. A lot had been taken away before it was protected in 1906 but there is still heaps. The colours are beautiful and you can still see and feel the bark, rings and borer tunnels.
It is also part of the Painted Desert, which is mostly in the Navajo Nation and is just like a Tony Hillerman book. Lots of eroded, coloured hills, mesas and buttes. Big sky country and the view goes on forever.
I have pictures but they are not on up on Flickr yet.

Yesterday I went for a 10 km cross country ski and didn't fall over, not once. I cheated a bit on 2 steep slopes and went down sideways but the rest I managed to cope with. Cross country skiing is fun, sort of like moonwalking only forwards. This was my second try at it and I've never downhill skied so I was quite happy with myself.