"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread—places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike."
- John Muir
Day 180 – Tuesday, December 19, 1995 - The Sunbow 5 walk is proceeding on Route 89 from Black Mesa south toward Flagstaff, Arizona.
Vast is the operative word. Distances stretch the capacity of the eye, yet to the east the highway is flanked about a mile away by a line of enormous towers to bear heavy power lines. The towers stretch ominously toward infinity, adding an unwelcome industrial accent to the desert.
According to the walkers, on the stretch of road along here things look generally despoiled, depressed, dry, barren, unwelcoming. As one travels along this stretch of highway one sees heaps of mining waste from one project or another. Some of the mammoth tailing heaps might well be radioactive waste that has caused health problems for so many people.
Thet Hopi and Navajo reservations are vast stretches of red rock country formed by iron oxides and adding a rusty color to the landscape—a color that is especially dramatic at sunrise and sunset.
The walkers moved their base camp today from Titus' Farm at Hopi to the Sunset Crater National Monument near Flagstaff.
Sunset Crater is one of the youngest volcano cones in the United States, born in a series of eruptions sometime between 1040 and 1100. The cone is named for the topmost cap of oxidized, red spatter.Legend holds that 19th-century explorer John Wesley Powell, named Sunset Crater Volcano because its rim of red and yellow cinders suggested the colors of a perpetual sunset.
In the 1920's H. S. Colton saved the cone from severe damage by averting the attempt of a Hollywood movie company to blow it up in order to simulate an eruption. This led to the establishment of the National Monument at Sunset Crater.
|Sunset Crater from above - Looking very much as if it were being bathed in the light of the setting sun. Photo by Wendell Duffield for the U.S. Geological Survey.
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden
Read Day 181 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire