Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Climbing a Crater

Matt Wyatt 

We began our adventure early Monday morning at the hotel with breakfast before we hit the road. As we drove down the northern Arizona roads, I began to realize the enormous scale of all the geological features around us. We were all captivated by the scenery and asked Dr. Burkhart question after question. Before long we were turning off the main road onto a rough dirt road into the middle of the barren dusty landscape. The dust began to billow as our convoy of vehicles rolled over the land. After what seemed forever, we reached our destination, S P Crater.  

Upon our arrival we began to gather around to hear the story of the volcanic cinder cone crater and land surrounding it. As I listened to the geological history of this place, I couldn’t help but feel like I was traveling back in time watching it all unfold in front of me. After hearing the history the only thing left to do was to read the history book for ourselves. We were given an hour and a half to climb to the top of the 850 foot crater and back. We didn’t want to waste any time so we filled our water bottles and began ascending up the crater. I started off at a very fast pace, but as I increased in altitude the crater began to get the best of me. After a while it seemed that every two steps forward meant one step back. This climb quickly became a mental endurance test. Through encouragement from one another and numerous breaks, the rim of the volcano became visible. With the rim in sight, we pushed ourselves to the top to see the spectacular view. The vast amount of geological history that was visible from the rim was absolutely breath taking, and it brought to life to enormous scale of the entire area.
The view from the top of S P Creator looking out over the lava flow. Taken by me, Matthew Wyatt

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