In October 2003 we took a trip west, driving all the way from Maryland to Las Vegas, and then coming back through Flagstaff, Arizona. It was a lot of driving, but I think it was a lot more interesting to see all of the landscapes in between our starting point and our destination.
In Arizona we visited the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, and Sunset Crater Volcano National Park and its surrounding areas. Our time was limited, so we didn’t get too much farther than this. From the volcano, we drove north and viewed the ruins at Wupatki National Monument. Even if you aren’t much for archaeology, this site is worth a visit just to soak in the atmosphere.
It’s very quiet there: Maryland is so noisy I can’t stand it most of the time. But there in the desert it was so quiet you could almost hear your own heartbeat. I’ve never experienced that kind of hush in nature, because even the quiet areas of Maryland or other parts of the east coast are usually populated at least with some birds. Nothing here is that silent.
The desert there was fairly flat. You can see for many miles in every direction, and all you see is desert: rocks, rocks, rocks. To the northeast we could see the Painted Desert, but that will have to be for another trip west.
The desertscape is beautiful in a very severe way. It’s hard to describe, but it’s incredible: it makes you feel so small. The sky seems huge, too. The photo presented here is a picture of the desert floor around Wupatki, showing some of the structure of the rocks and a few hardy bushes. Look about two-thirds of the way to the right and one-third down from the top of the picture. Do you see the rock that looks like a skull setting on its side, looking towards the left? Kind of creepy, huh? The area was filled with stuff like this.