January 12, 2019, Flagstaff-
I set out for this mountain community, which was my home in 1980-81, with a view towards determining the level of untended littering in one National Monument: Sunset Crater, during the ever-longer government shutdown. As we’ll see, the amount was rather light.
The day started with my feeling weighted down, by what, I still have no idea. My mood was lifted, though, by meeting a delightful little family from Dharma Farm, a place of which I’ve written in the past, whilst making my usual rounds at Prescott Farmers Market. I will re-visit Dharma more often, during the remainder of winter and into spring. Their commitment to permaculture is something of which I want to learn more, prior to any post-retirement move I might make. Permaculture will be described further, in subsequent posts, as well.
Back to Flagstaff, and Sunset Crater. I found few other people visiting the park. Three tourists did drive past the semi-porous barricades and further into the park. As it happens, a Federal park ranger is on site and drove into the area, quickly sending the visitors back the way they came. Only a Dineh man, with grandfathered visiting rights to any area of Sunset Crater and nearby Wupatki (some park lands were purchased, by eminent domain, from a handful of Dineh (Navajo) families), in the 1930’s), was allowed to drive his truck behind the barricades.
I went on foot, for about a mile, into the park and found little trash along the road-and none on the trail I took. There were some lovely views, though.
After it was apparent that my mission did not warrant further exploration of the park, especially with the ranger working without pay, I headed back into town, and parked in a formerly free lot. Flagstaff has taken a page from other tourist-dependent communities, and charges $1 per hour to park along downtown streets or in its off-street lots. I find this reasonable, though some visitors grumbled that there are not “freshly-paved” streets that would “warrant” such a charge. Go figure.
I found the usually congenial folks at Pizzicleta, an artisan thin-crust eatery, to be a bit grumpy and unusually reserved. One of the servers mentioned how tired they were, though the place had barely been open for twenty minutes. Maybe it is the preparation that is enervating. The food was still great, though, which is what matters most.
Now, it’s time to head to Winslow, an hour to the east, and find a spot at my favourite motel there. Tomorrow, I hope to head up to the Hopi Nation, to visit long-time friends. The Bean Dance is coming.