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Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano

Wupatki Pueblo is one of the largest, housing up to 100 people at its peak around 1200 AD. Perhaps 1000 others lived in pueblos nearby.

Wupatki was near the center of many trade routes. At its peak, it had 100 rooms, a community area and a ball court.

Karen gives you an idea of the size. It was 3 levels.

It was built around a rock outcropping.

The right side is a giant rock. The square tall brick structure is a vent, probably for having indoor fires.

Looking inside one room.

You can see how it was built around this rock.

The other side of the room shows another rock used as a foundation.

The community room. This was a farming community, using water stored during sparse rains. Unusual was the lack of evidence of a roof over the area.

A ball court, assumed since it's similar to what the Indians in Mexico built.

Wupatki has a large "blow hole" connected to a large underground chamber that vents here. When we were there it was blowing damp air out.

Many people have been here. Prospectors recovered many artifacts. Squatters lived here. During the 1930s, even park rangers lived in the structure.

After that, the area was returned to its original but decayed status.

Sunset Crater, near Wupatki. The high hill is the remains of a volcano that erupted around 1040-1100.

Closer look at the cone. It's covered with heavy cinders. There were paths up it for many years until it was realized how much damage hikers were causing.

Lava fields similar to ones we have seen in Hawaii and the Galapagos.

Lava flowed twice around the base leaving this lava field, called Bonita. The mountains in the background are just north of Flagstaff.

More of the lava field, with what seems like a smaller crater (or mine) in the upper left.

Trees poking through the snow on the cinders.

Another cone nearby.

Backside of Sunset Crater. Here you can see the crater in the dome.

And a few miles away, looking off the hills to the desert beyond.

The ash and cinders have a texture that looks like blowing sand.

We took the truck in case we needed 4WD.