Thursday, April 8, 2021

O, snow, and Joe (and Meteor Crater)

I've been collecting random photos lately; seems like a good time to catch up.  I was actually surprised to find so many little topics to write about.

We've had a good winter in Flagstaff, some snow but not ridiculous, some cold but not terrible.  Warmer weather is just down the hill, and we took advantage of that a few times.  Thank you to the Phoenix orienteering club for giving us an excuse to do that once or twice a month!

Also thank you to the club for several Flagstaff-area maps from prior O-meets.  John and I had a great time running around the Observatory Mesa, Fort Tuthill, and most recently in Fort Valley looking for imaginary controls and getting some practice.

I brought a camera each time so we could compare locations and see if we agreed that each of us was approximately in the right spot.  Here's the most "interesting" of those pictures:

Mostly though, I took photos of random rocks:

Or trees - this was the best tree, with a view of the San Francisco Peaks in the background:

And then... this happened:

A different kind of exercise:

Happily we had worked out a good system for keeping the water on, and our grid power stayed on so we were warm and comfy.  This is the middle of the "Big Dump" in January with over two feet of snow at one time.  I did some snowshoeing and cross-country skiing right out the back door, a small dose of "taking advantage of where you are," although we could/should have done more.

I'm not sure I've ever been so happy to go to Phoenix for a weekend!  John carried a camera during one of the orienteering meets, taking some nice photos of the scenery (possibly the Superstitions in the background):

The distinctive Weaver's Needle on the horizon - quite a landmark!

Wild horses watching us run around the desert - they didn't seem to mind us, and we enjoyed watching them back:

The start/finish area, with a nice backdrop:

Hi John!  I'd managed to mess up one control really badly but recover and clear the 2-hour course.  John had managed to stumble and put a gash in his palm, so this is the moment before we were readjusting our afternoon plans to get his hand to an urgent care ("Get the cheese to Sickbay!"):

They did a super job stitching him up, and you could hardly see the bandage (and now you can hardly see the scar).  We were still able to explore Old Town Scottsdale that evening and play around inside this fun sculpture:

Here's a little video from another O-meet with GPHXO:

Let's see, what else has been going on.  I've been able to run more, including through the NAU campus in town.  I'm always amused by these self-driving Starship food delivery robots there:

Big news and happiness - we're almost completely vaccinated!  Just one more shot for me.  The process at Fort Tuthill is impressively easy, we don't even get out of the car.

A bit of exploring on the Arizona Trail around Flagstaff - I finally made it to Fisher Point above Walnut Canyon.  Excellent views from there:

Including a window toward the San Fran's, currently completely covered in white stuff:

From below, looking back toward the point:

Thanks, AZT!

John and I hiked up O'Leary Peak with a couple friends one weekend, my biggest climb since the Flagstaff Fearsome Four in November (and a verification that I could consider trying the Phoenix version, aka the previous blog post).  More wonderful views and smiles:

Whatcha doin up there, cutie?

Lovely spring day:

And then... it snowed again.  The subsequent snowfalls were mostly minor and usually melted away quickly.  At least down in town; it will take a while for the deeper/higher piles to disappear.

On one of our drives back from Phoenix, we spotted two SUV's passing us, both with a similar familiar design, no tailpipe that we could see, cover over the front grill (as if to hide a logo), and Michigan license plate.  Could this be a Rivian in the wild?  Not sure, but maybe!

Back to the AZT, Joe "Stringbean" McConaughy came past us last week on his way toward setting a new FKT.  I tracked him since he started at the southern border of the state, waved in his general direction the previous weekend while I was running around Phoenix, and hoped to see him as he came by less than a mile from where we're staying.

Although he arrived a bit later than expected, and it was a day that I had other things scheduled, I managed to get back to Howie and on the trail just in time to find him coming up from Picture Canyon.  I also got to meet his amazing, super-friendly, talented crew - what a great group of people!  Joe was moving fine and happy to talk with me (thanks Joe!), and apparently I was the first person to come run with him; that felt like something of an honor.  We had a fun chat on his way to a small aid station they had set up:

I was somewhat fangirl-ish, hopefully not too over-the-top:

Staying out of the way while watching the crew work and the camera guys document everything:

They put together a high quality series of videos about Joe's run, always with a bit of humor and humanity, and I looked forward to their daily postings.  I even made a (very) brief appearance in this one:

Go Joe!

A couple days later I trekked up to Schultz Pass, literally following in Joe's footsteps in some postholey snow for a short way.  It was only a couple hundred meters of deep-ish snow, but it sucked.  I cannot imagine what he and his pacers went through on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  The last couple videos of the series detail their challenges.  Amazing.  And Joe made it through, made it to the northern border, and got a new FKT - congratulations Joe!

His signature in the trail register at Schultz Pass:

Another little weekend diversion for us - Meteor Crater.  We keep passing the signs for it on the highway over the years and haven't made it here until now.  It was great, glad we made time for it finally.

And while we were there, another view of the San Francisco Peaks across the prairie:

Welcome to Earth:

An artifact from astronaut moon training in the crater:

Just taking a stroll across the courtyard...

It's hard to imagine just how wide this thing is - 4000 feet in diameter and over 500 feet deep.  Originally thought to be a volcano cone, which makes sense with all the other volcanic features around here.  But nope, this came from outer space:

Taking a closer look at some of the artifacts from drilling at the bottom (they tried to find the meteorite that impacted the earth, but it turns out that it was mostly vaporized and turned into tiny bits):

Quite impressive!

My favorite part of the museum - the various levels of "shocked" sandstone:

I would have been pretty dang shocked too, if I'd been around when it hit.

Thanks for reading, hope your springtime is going well!

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