Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Walnut Canyon

Erin and I headed north up to Flagstaff last weekend and took advantage of the National Park Service "Fee Free Weekend" by hitting up Walnut Canyon, a cliff dwelling site, and Sunset Crater, an extinct but impressive volcano. We also visited Meteor Crater. More on Sunset and Meteor craters to come.

Walnut Canyon was inhabited by a group of Native Americans that archeologists call the Sinagua people. The Sinagua and other tribes left other cliff dwellings around the southwest. They lived in the area north of the Mogollon Rim (which is the edge of the Colorado Plateau) between the Colorado and the Little Colorado Rivers. Walnut Canyon was inhabited around 1100 A.D. No one is certain why they left or where they went, but some modern Hopi clans are the ancestors of the Sinagua.

Here are some more pictures of Walnut Canyon.
walnut canyon 2
Walnut Canyon
I think this is some sort of aster. If you're a better botanist, please help me out.
inside dwelling with ancient smoke
Smoke marks from Sinagua fires are still visible on the walls of the cliff houses. Erin also pointed out some fossil sea sponges in many of the rocks.
cliff dwelling doorway
walnut canyon dwelling 3

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