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Friday, August 3, 2012

Walking Wupatki: Part 3


DONEY TRAIL
Wupatki National Monument
the saddle

on the trail
Geek that I am, I have a facination with lava bombs.  Heck--even the name is cool.  Lava. Bombs.  These products of volcanic eruptions form when highly viscous molton rock shoots into the sky from an explosive event,  partially solidifies on the way back to earth, then slams into the ground with a heat-warped taffy splat.  This process results in in mangled crater-side blobs and contorted ribbons that are best (indelicately) described  as "stone turds".  I think they are beautiful and I wish I could have been around to witness their formation.  Okay, not really, but it's almost a certainty that people living in the area 1000 years ago would have been treated to the fireworks.  Still, 21-century hikers can observe some very nice old, but fresh-looking lava bombs on the Doney Trail.  The trail leads to two of  four cinder cone summits that sit on a north-south line  of the Doney Fault which is visible from the top of peak number two.
lava bomb
A short walk over black cinders leads to a saddle with a bench and a lone one-seed juniper tree standing sentry over big views of the Painted Desert.  From here, the trail divides.  Go left to peak number one which features the ruins of an ancient  field house.  Peak number two is a little steeper climb, but the trail has been stabalized with wooden beams. On top, there's a viewing bench and a sign describing the surrounding peaks.  Look closely to the southeast and you should be able to spot the white roofs of the Wupatki Pueblo visitor center---next stop on the tour. 

LENGTH:  0.7 miles roundtrip
RATING:  moderate (loose rock)
ELEVATION:  5,300' - 5,500'
PETS: are not allowed on any park trails in buildings.  
Please do not leave pets in cars---heat can be fatal.
THE RULES: as with all archeological sites, it is illegal to take or damage anything.  Take only pictures, leave only footprints. Also, do not climb or sit on the fragile ruins.
FACILITIES: restoom, picnic table
GETTING THERE:
From Flagstaff, travel north on US 180 to milepost 444.5.  Turn right and continue 9 miles to the Doney Picnic Area turn off on the right. Roads are 100% paved.
INFO: National Park Service, 928-679-2365
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