Tuesday, December 31, 2013 Flagstaff AZ
End of 2013. I should probably write eloquently about the past year. But my style is more straightforward. 2013 was a marvelous experience; a dream come true. We have found that our major mistake was in over estimating how much we can see in a day. The result, we have to extend our time into 2014, at least, to finish our plans to visit areas of the U.S. we have not seen before.
For the last day of the year, we had a relaxing last morning at La Posada and headed out to Meteor Crater. This hole in the ground is large enough to hold 20 football fields on the floor of the crater and seat 2,000,000 people on the slopes of the crater bowl.
The crater was formed about 50,000 years ago and is over 4,000 feet across and is now 550 feet deep. It is estimated it was 700 feet deep when formed, erosion reducing it over time.
The crater was a source of controversy. Initially it was identified as a volcanic crater. However, it 1902 it was visited by a mining engineer from Philly who thought it was created by an iron meteorite and leased the land to mine it for its minerals. Over two decades effort produced no meteorite find.
The time spent helped to cement the proof that the crater was formed by a meteor but the meteor had vaporized, melted, and fragmented so no major mining was feasible. Several 1000 pound fragments have been found and we touched one of them for good luck.
The site was offered to the U.S. by the heirs of the mining engineer. The U.S. turned it down, they had a big hole in the ground just a little ways a way (the Grand Canyon). The mining family has kept a long-term lease and now runs the site. They do a good job of mixing education and commerce.
We took the one mile loop tour with a guide. The crater floor is off limits, it keeps the crater remarkably well-preserved. Although NASA used this site, among others, for training astronauts for the moon mission. It helped the astronauts to better identify impact craters on the moon.
After the crater, we went to the new Navajo casino for a light bite to eat and managed to lose $1.70 at the slots. Then it was on to Sunset Crater, a national monument we had visited previously but thought it might be nice to try to get a sunset shot from Sunset Crater.
We met Lou and Joyce at their Flagstaff house where we had homemade lasagna (Yum) for dinner. Downtown Flagstaff holds a pine cone drop on New Year’s Eve, at both 10 pm and midnight. We went to the 10 pm drop. A pine cone is used since Ponderosa pines are found throughout the Flagstaff area and Coconino National Forest. The mayor’s proclamation stated this is the largest single source of Ponderosa pine in the world.
Champagne at Lou and Joyce’s at midnight wrapped up the year.
We hope you have enjoyed our little notes and photos as we visited the U.S. and Canada this year. It has been a joy for us. Hopefully you will continue to share our travels in 2014, even though it will be at a reduced pace.
Ed and Chris New Year’s Day Noon
Watching the Rose Bowl Parade on the delayed taping.