A drive through Oak Creek Canyon in northern Arizona this week allowed for a glimpse of conditions since the Slide Fire was extinguished. Since the beginning of the monsoon season is upon us, worries over the safety of visitors to the canyon in the event of flash flooding has caused many closures. The camping areas affected by the fire as well as other parking for day use along the canyon are now closed. Thus the photos I post here are all from a moving car, not the best of situations. However, you can see that if you are looking for fire damage, you will find it, however, most of the beauty that is Oak Creek Canyon remains.
The worst of the burn area, as visible from the road, is where the fire started. It burned very hot here. Note the discolored ground in the burn area.
You can see from the many signs and banners in Flagstaff, how appreciated the efforts of firefighters were. The question currently on the minds of locals is how much damage could occur due to runoff from the anticipated summer monsoons. Oak Creek has many fans awaiting the answer, and thinking ahead to their next trip.
Two weeks ago we camped with our tent trailer at beautiful Cave Springs Campground in Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona. We have lived for decades in the area, but never actually camped in the canyon previously.
Yesterday, Tuesday, May 20, a devastating wildfire started in the canyon south of the Cave Springs Campground, and has been whipped along by high winds. Twenty-four hours later it is estimated at 4500 acres and has topped out of the canyon and approaches Flagstaff, Arizona. ABC News 15, reports at this time the fire is zero percent contained. (Air15 fire photos at the link)
Interior photos and information here.
Construction on the current San Xavier del Bac began in 1783. More than 200 hundred years of harsh desert climate, use, abandonment and attempts at restorations have taken a toll on the interior and exterior of this incredible structure. Finding funding for proper conservation has been an ongoing challenge.This year, 2014, conservation and preservation efforts are underway. Photos here.
San Xavier del Bac: The White Dove of the Desert
If you drive a car on I10 in southern Arizona, you will undoubtedly see sign after sign asking “The Thing?” In fact, a miracle in advertising, the first signs begin near El Paso, TX, traveling west. By the time you arrive at exit 322, in the middle of the desert between Willcox and Benson, Arizona, your curiosity should be aroused. For a whole dollar, you can find out just what The Thing, the Mystery in the Desert, is. And you can buy an ice cream cone, or other tourist delights.
In the same southeastern corner of the state you will encounter beautiful Texas Canyon, rich in the history of Arizona Territory, the Butterfield Stage Route, ranching, and Apache country.
A few minutes driving will take you to famous Tombstone, Arizona. In 1877 Ed Schieffelin announced to cavalry stationed in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, that he intended prospecting in the valley of the San Pedro River. He was warned that he would only “find his tombstone there.” It was a dangerous time in Arizona Territory because this was Apache country. But he persisted, found silver and staked the Tombstone and Graveyard claims. Soon other rich deposits were discovered and more prospectors came and the town of Tombstone blossomed. It was a rough, tough boomtown until 1886 when fire destroyed the pump works and the mines flooded. Tombstone remains as a thriving tourist attraction, complete with shootouts in the streets, busy saloons, stagecoaches and people dressed in the best of western wear.
I know, today was supposed to be all about “T” on this A to Z Challenge, but sometimes a road block stops all progress.
We were driving along I17 north toward Flagstaff yesterday. As we topped the steep hill near Sunset Point, all traffic began to slow and we could see that it came to a standstill not far ahead. Knowing about the old back road from the Bumblebee exit to the town of Mayer and hence back to the I17, we took the exit and enjoyed the drive. You never know quite what surprises you will find on a detour.
Way back when automobiles first became common, states created highway publications to alert drivers to the paved roads within their road systems. Arizona Highways Magazine was first published in 1925 by the engineers of the state highway department and has gone on to become a hugely popular magazine world-wide. It showcases everything from the most scenic drives, not-to-be missed hikes, the best Arizona photographs to the best wildflower viewing sites. If you haven’t seen it, click the link above and browse through the site. For many of us who grew up in Arizona in the 1950s, a prized family collection of Arizona Highways Magazines was the centerpiece of the living room bookshelf.
Freeways and stacked interchanges: yes, we have them. But Arizona has done a lot to create freeway art that is symbolic of our state.
In my family growing up, a Sunday drive was fine entertainment. Our 1950 Pontiac covered many miles crisscrossing southeastern Arizona,
and we never flinched at a bumpy dirt road. I still like to do that.
Not all paved Arizona roads are divided highways and many of the two lane roads lead to spectacular places.
And finally, there are always road signs.
The Navajo or Diné, Nation covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Diné Bikéyah (link), or Navajoland, is larger than 10 of the 50 states in America. The Diné in Arizona live north of the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff.
Navajo weavers (link) have long been known for their beautiful hand-woven rugs.
According to Kathy Hooker in her book, Time Among the Navajo, it takes 2 months to make a single rug. Many Navajo families raise their own sheep. After the weather warms in the Spring, the women and children will catch and shear a sheep by hand, using shears. Then the wool must be cleaned by shaking and washing in a wash tub. The wool is rinsed in cold water several times, and then washed with soap in warm water heated in a kettle on the stove. After rinsing again, the wool is hung on a fence to dry. Carding commences when the wool is dry, using wooden paddles with metal teeth to pull the wool and straighten the fibers. Typically it will take 2 weeks to card enough wool for a single rug. The batts of wool pulled from the teeth of the cards are spun into yarn using a twirling spindle. Another two weeks can be spent on spinning. Once spun into yarn, the yarn is washed again and is wrapped from one fence post to another to dry. The weaver will have planned her design which she holds in memory, and she knows what colors of yarn she needs to create that pattern. The wool may be dyed from plant dyes or some store-bought colors, especially red. For black and white, the natural wool is used. Brown is created by boiling wild walnuts. Bark, roots and fruit of other plants are used to make additional colors. It will take 3 weeks of constant work to complete the tightly-woven rug.
The weaving loom is an upright design.
No two Navajo rugs are alike. The place of origin for a rug typically determines the type of design. The Navajo Reservation can be divided into 13 weaving regions. There are other distinctive designs as well. If you wish to purchase a Navajo rug, choose a reputable dealer or trading post so that you can enjoy an authentic Navajo rug.