Wupatki Walkabout

Crack-in-Rock Backpack
Ranger-led backpack to backcountry pueblos and petros

October 15 - 16, 2011

Text © copyright by Rob; and Photos © copyright by Rob
Wupatki Pueblo Moonset
Wupatki Pueblo Moonset
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Pottery Gription - Finger Hole
Pottery Gription - Finger Hole
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pano - Crack-in-Rock mesa to Little Colorado River - scroll L-R to view it 
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pano - Crack-in-Rock mesa to Little Colorado River - scroll L-R to view it all (6879 x 900 pixels, 2.2mb)
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Wupatki NM (National Monument); Ranger-led overnight backpack about 16 miles total.
      With Kathleen Jones (and 11 total other hikers) and Ranger Holly, including Hank, Janice, Heidi of the NPS (National Park Service), Jake and Kathy from Eastern Washington - a memorable bunch.

The art of adventure implies active visual exploration that is more mental than physical. The art becomes an adventure and vice versa. Where there is certainty, the adventure disappears. Galen Rowell

Wupatki - photo set 1

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      Day 1: Walkabout to Crack-in-Rock Pueblo: 8 miles or so.
      The shimmering auriferous Quaking Aspen leaves are gilded frontscape to the ebony basalt. Kathleen and I are driving through Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, on our way to rendezvous with a group of backpackers to hike into the protected backcountry of Wupatki National Monument. We have scored a waiting list spot on this ranger-led hike where no GPS or other location devices are allowed. How does a public agency attempt to balance the disparate goals of public visitation and resource protection in these days of crushing population decimation of all resources? Because many of the 7 billion people (and sadly, with declining abilities, most American students of math) on this, our only Eaarth (see Bill McKibben), have no concept of geometric progression, we are destined (already have?) to far outstrip the water, oxygen, tillable land, etc. and repeat the admittedly lesser errors of the pueblo people. Full catastrophe living.
      The variegated polychrome pottery shard glistens against the deep saturated reddish brown of the Moencopi Formation. White on black, corrugated, corrugated with fingerprints (wow!), red on black, a red slip with imbedded tiny black cinders (Sunset Red, named after the nearby Sunset Crater), the cinders local from the geologically recent eruptions, and a checkerboard style of black on white - perhaps a Kayenta black on white. See the Coils that Bind pdf in the links section.
      Moving on, there's a chunk of pottery with a finger hole or loop for a carrying strap. Amazing, fit your finger into this grip. Gription to the past. A middle length of projectile point or scraper. Field enclosures lined with Kaibab Limestone, surface pitted in characteristic limestone manner. The enclosures were apparently designed to hold soil/moisture and regulate which crop went where. A nearby surface ruin might have been a watch shelter, for youngsters assigned to keep animals from eating the precious crops. Carefully stacked and mortared structures. These are among the wonders we see on the way to camp, along with the monocline, near Crack-in-Rock Pueblo. Oh, and some petros too.
      The monocline juts up as we walk to camp, with Kaibab Limestone atop the slant of reef, while we're walking on the relatively flat Moenkopi Formation.
      As soon as camp is thrown into place, we hike up slope in fading light to Crack-in-Rock, replete with its calendar wall - portals may mark the sunset/sunrise important times; time to plant, etc. Of course, a crack affords entry to the plaza atop the mesa - grandeur. The vista sweeps over the crop enclosures, nearby pueblos and mesas, and out to the Little Colorado River and beyond.
      The night is windy at first, and Kathleen and I sleep on a low ridge paved with small polished river cobbles from past eons. As the nearly full moon rises, winds calm. Silhouettes of pueblo-studded mesas, like jagged jack-o-lantern teeth, ring the Western skyline.

The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key. Edward Abbey

Wupatki - photo set 2

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      Day 2: Mesa Hopping: Middle and Horseshoe and home.
      The textile petro overshadows an assortment of most excellent glyphs. Around the wall, more ruined pueblos and a mountain lion glyph.
      We're spending much of the morning investigating Middle and Horseshoe Mesas. Lots of stuff out here. Pristine. Without ATVs, RVs, or hoards of people, there is decent survival of important links to the past. Peaceful and generally undisturbed - unlike the vandalized and looted ruins of Grand Gulch and most other once treasures.
      I raise my camera for a Mountain Lion glyph photo. And - nothing. A new battery does not revive it. OH-OH, damnation. Feeling sad, I take mind photos of more extensive works of people who have gone before.

Wupatki - photo set 3

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Wupatki basic map
Wupatki basic map
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Scenic Toilet of Wupatki

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      But of course a happy man's true paradise is his own good nature. Edward Abbey

      Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey, "Money, Et Cetera'' in A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

      The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject. Marcus Aurelius

      Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out? Will Rogers

More truth than joke:

     The Atlantic notes about the below graph:
     Based on data from the Congressional Budget Office and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Its significance is not partisan (who's "to blame" for the deficit) but intellectual. It demonstrates the utter incoherence of being very concerned about a structural federal deficit but ruling out of consideration the policy that was largest single contributor to that deficit, namely the Bush-era tax cuts.

bush vs Obama - cost of policy changes
bush vs Obama - cost of policy changes
(Click the image - source is The New York Times, Congressional Budget Office; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

Paul Krugman - on Wall Street
Paul Krugman - on Wall Street

sarah palin presents Revere's ride
sarah palin presents Revere's ride

God speaks compassionate Socialism
God speaks compassionate conservatism

A final note from bushco
A final, and still horribly relevant, note from bushco
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Click here to see Wupatki National Monument

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

Scenic Toilets of Inner Earth

Pictos and Petros - WV site

Bill McKibben, Eaarth

Coils that Bind - NPS pottery review; pdf file

Eruption of Sunset Crater and Sinagua People - AZ Daily Sun, 12-4-2011; pdf file

A well-regulated wilderness - why not cover the wilds with ORVs? (NY Times)

(mp3 file - sound recording) NPR - facing planetery enemy no 1 - agriculture 10-12-2011

7 billion and counting - will anyone survive?

World population clock - watch the number spin, geometrically, and be frightened, very frightened.

Arithmetic, population, and energy - the geometric function (youtube mini-lecture on math)

And - Click here to see The Archman's site on Utah and area arches.

Click here to see Ben's Scenic USA - Picture of the Day.

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