A Visit to “Mystery Mountain”

6

October 16, 2020-

It wasn’t a long absence from Home Base, especially in light of a wildfire that may require some attention, this weekend. I did, however, make good on a visit to northern Arizona’s “other” Red Mountain-this one about halfway between Valle and Flagstaff, on US Highway 180.

I began the day with a run to Tusayan, the service town that lies just outside Grand Canyon National Park. That was entirely to get some cash, which I had neglected to do in Williams, yesterday afternoon. With cash comes a gratuity for the motel maid, who has things extra difficult-dealing with the POSSIBILITY that some guests may not be conscientious regarding traveling whilst ill.

Saying good bye to Grand Canyon Inn, I headed southeast and found Red Mountain to be quite popular, on this tail end of Fall Break. An easy 1.2 mile walk, from the trailhead to a short ladder, leads to a mini-wonderland, not unlike the larger area of spires, hoodoos and expansive sandstone cliffs found in Bryce Canyon, Utah.

Red Mountain is a cinder cone, with volcanic ash covering the cinders, thus forming many of the hoodoos which grace its northern base. Slippery volcanic dust and pebbles form the groundcover, making it important to mind one’s steps. It was understood, by everyone present, to stay off the rocks themselves, which are clearly delicate.

Here are several scenes of the trail and of the Volcanic Park.

The 1.5 mile trail begins in this juniper grove.
A southward view of Red Mountain.
Red Mountain is the westernmost peak in the San Francisco Volcanic Field. Abineau Peak neighbours it to the southeast.
This scene points out the rugged nature of the terrain. Volcanic soil is rich, but is not thick.
Kids of all ages may be tempted to go up, and slide down, here, It is a very treacherous ledge and climbing is forbidden.
Cinder hoodoos, covered in black ash.
Ponderosa pines, the tallest trees in Arizona, sometimes have fallen victim to volcanic dust clouds that get whipped up in storms. Fire is also a danger.
Some of the stones evoke elephant images.
This volcanic box canyon is lined with basalt spires like these.
Every path has its guardians.
Sand, piled up in the box canyon, gradually hardened and formed these “busts”.
These crevices, as yet, do not go very far.
Older crevices, though, present a temptation to get oneself stuck.
Here is one end of the box canyon.
Here is a ledge of hoodoos, representing the other end of the canyon.

On my way out, I met a young family who were exploring the approaches to the box canyon, at the child’s own pace. The little girl asked me how to get up “Mystery Mountain”. I told her the ledge she was trying to get up could be the first Mystery Mountain and there were many more. (She was, with Mommy’s help, about two feet up.)

It is for moments like this, as much as anything else, that I go forth to see my own Mystery places.

Jeju, Part 3: Where the Sun Greets Jeju-do

4

March 14, 2019, Songsan, South Korea-

After a robust meal of kalbi (grilled ribs), at Kyodong Dok Kalbi, we retired to the Golden Tulip Hotel, in this eastern fishing and shellfish diving center.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Our first stop, on a robust and happy day that will take us across the island, was Songsan Ilchulbong, a small promontory that is a favourite of locals and tourists alike, for greeting the sunrise.  We did not do so, as the sumptuous breakfast buffet of Golden Tulip beckoned first.

Once we did get to the site, though, we found a small course for riding a Cheju pony, similar to the ponies of Shetland.  Yunhee gladly rode the pony, even though it was a very brief experience.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Although the coastal areas of Jeju are treeless, in most spots, an effort is being made to plant windbreak in some places around Songsan.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here is the volcanic promontory that beckoned us.  I was last up this hill, in February, 1992, with a small group of freshman students.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here is a view, from halfway up, of Songsan, in the morning light.  Halla-san, the highest peak on Jeju, and in South Korea, is seen in the distance, on the near left  side.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There are many igneous boulders along the route.  Here is a particularly popular photo point for many Korean visitors:  Lamp Rock.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The image on the right side evokes a Grandmother’s kind visage.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Two eyes appear to be watching, at this site of twin caves.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The indentation below seems to fit my daughter-in-law perfectly!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We made it to the top, so I chose this as my next profile picture on social media.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Below, is a view of the crater, for which the summit of Ilchulbong is famous.  Yes, the hill is a dead cinder cone.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here is the southern, less inhabited part of Udo, an islet just across a small channel from Songsan.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here are the effects of constant saline deposits on this sedimentary boulder, in an area that hosts haenyo, or women who dive for abalone and sea cucumber.  The traditional divers are mainly found in Jeju, though some are in a handful of towns on the southern mainland coast.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

One haenyo is seen in the water, wearing a yellow diving vest.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here is the bell of Dongam-sa, a Buddhist temple at the foot of Ilchulbong.  A funeral was in progress when we visited, so we kept our visit quiet and short.

SAM_1203.JPG

Contrasting images of the Buddha are seen here.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We ended our visit to Songsan, with a brief visit with an old friend.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

With that, we are off to Songeup Folk Village, for some reconnection with the farm folk of old Jeju.