Arizona 2012

Elizabeth and I took a week-long trip to Flagstaff, Arizona to see the famous Meteor Crater, the somewhat less famous Sedona and the barely-mentioned Grand Canyon. We flew into Phoenix to save a little money.

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We arrived at our bed and breakfast, a private home Eliz found on AirBnB, after driving about 2 and a half hours from Phoenix to Flagstaff.

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The house literally backed up on a wilderness area, where we took a walk before sunset.

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The next day, we drove out to Meteor Crater, which was the main reason for our trip. That’s the crater’s rim visible in the background.

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I was the main photographer (as usual), but Eliz took some nice shots with her iPhone as well. (Any image named IMG_* is hers.)

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This is the biggest surviving chunk of the meteorite that caused the impact 50,000 years ago, and it was found some miles west of the crater.

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A panorama of the actual crater. (We took a few of these.)

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We were only allowed on a paved trail that extended about a half mile along the rim, and had to be herded by a guide the entire time. No wandering off and falling in — dang!

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This is one of the several mine shafts dug by Daniel M. Barringer, who hoped to find an iron meteorite about the size of the crater. The poor fellow died disappointed.

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Commercial and private aircraft aren’t permitted to fly anywhere near the crater, but the military can go wherever they please.

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Obviously, they were enjoying the view, whether or not we were really on their flight path.

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We asked a fellow straggler to take our photo on the rim.

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Eliz has been working on a series related to the crater, so this was kind of a field trip.

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They had a backdrop set up in the museum where you could pretend to be at the bottom of the crater, since they don’t allow visitors to go there anymore.

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After our tour and visit to the museum, we went out the other direction to look at the crater from the points provided above and below the rim to the east.

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It was very windy at the upper view point, though not as windy as some days according to our guide. Eliz had to hold onto her hat.

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I had to hold onto the railing.

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A panorama from the upper view point.

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Another passerby took another photo of us (#2 in the series).

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The lower rim view point was more comfortable, with a nice shade structure that was actually constructed as a barrier to falling rocks.

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Some kids were enjoying climbing around behind the viewing benches.

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Shadow Painting

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The outer courtyard had a nice, framed view of the northern landscape.

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On the way back from Meteor Crater, we stopped in the ghost town of Two Guns, formerly along Route 66 (now I–89 on this section of it).

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There were a fair number of these stone structures, which dated from the latter half of the 1800’s.

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Still serving as a hideout for outlaws, these RV’s were camping illegally, hidden from view of the highway.

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There was even an old outhouse structure, with a row of 4 or 5 seats unoccupied.

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Here is a row of ruined buildings along the rim of Canyon Diablo, whose waters were taken over for irrigation many decades ago.

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The windows and walls survived, but the roofs were all replaced by sky.

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The iPhone actually takes pretty nice pictures.

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Looking through to a round "hogan," a traditional home of the Navajo (Dinea) people.

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Another view of the hogan.

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A two–story hogan.

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Me taking a picture of Eliz taking a picture of...

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Our second day, we drove south to Sedona, checking out Oak Creek Canyon on the way.

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Sedona must be Spanish for "Pretty Rocks."

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This is the view from I–89A.

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This was taken partway up Doe Mountain, which is more of a mesa, really.

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On the trail up Doe Mtn.

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We’re about 250 feet above the parking lot at this point, maybe 3/4 to the top.

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Eliz on the trail.

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Me just off the trail.

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Me way off the trail.

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View from the mesa.

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Wider view from the mesa.

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I didn’t recognize this cactus, which was about knee–high. I had many spines from prickly pear in my knees as well.

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Four Sisters
After Doe Mountain, we drove a few miles to Boynton Valley, where we wandered into this formation. Eliz said it looked like four sisters.

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Elizabeth’s father passed away recently, so she used a soft rock to write his initials in memorium.

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A lone cactus branch just tall enough to reach the sky.

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Two mule deer we saw along the trail.

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Watcher of the Moon

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I thought this one looked like Winnie the Pooh

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The Screamer
Eliz thought this one looked like a shouting person (with high hair).

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More pretty rocks

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Probably too wide to jump

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Two–toned mountains

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At this point, we thought we might be near the end of the trail, but some other hikers informed us that the end was at least 40 minutes away. So we turned back.

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This was supposedly the nicest part, anyway.

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Catch the moon.

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I think this is the Screamer from the other side (on the left).

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After our hike in Boynton Canyon, we drove up to the Sedona airport, which we heard was a marvelous vantage to watch the sunset. Seems we weren’t the only ones who heard about it....

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It was quite a view.

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Our shadows were getting pretty long at this point.

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Viewing conditions were perfect.

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It looked like one of the clouds was trying to drop rain, but the dry air absorbed it before it ever reached the ground.

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I took a whole series of these, but this was the nicest.

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The next day, we drove back to Sedona because it was too cold for the Grand Canyon that day, and we liked Sedona and wanted to see some things we missed, like this lookout point.

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One of the photos I took from the lookout.

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Midgley Bridge
On 89A

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Another view of Oak Creek Canyon

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This morning, we headed to the Palatki Heritage Site at the end of a 4–mile dirt road.

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There we had the lunch we picked up from the grocer in town, with spectacular views all around.

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The ruins of a pueblo blended almost perfectly into the rockface, which we weren’t allowed to approach since someone heard the rocks above making "cracking sounds" the year before.

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We didn’t notice the second set of ruins at first, since they were in shadow as well as camoflage.

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These stones had clearly fallen from somplace much higher up, but probably not too recently....

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Up close, they were even more impressive.

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Just to the west, some more overhanging rocks were home to pictographs drawn by former inhabitants.

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The guide told us that many of these pictographs were drawn before this was used as a fire pit, and the smoke turned the light pigments dark.

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A close–up of some of the pictographs.

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These walls were constructed by a more recent settler, a reclusive widower who occupied the land until the middle of the last century.

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View from the doorway

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View from the back

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After Palatki, we took to another dirt road that led to the hike to Devil’s Bridge. I was dragging at that point from the long day, and we weren’t sure how long the road was before the trailhead. We only knew our rental car couldn’t make it.

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This seems to be a red velvet ant, which I’d never heard of until I googled it just now. Apparently, they’re a kind of wasp, the female of which lacks wings. Their stings are supposed to hurt like heck, so I’m glad we left it alone.

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Our climb to Devil’s Bridge.

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We kept our eye on this precariously balanced rock during our climb.

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Some interesting patterns on the vertical face we passed on the trail.

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The rocks across the small valley were also pretty cool.

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The view near the top.

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Another in our series of "Could you take our picture?" pictures.

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Devil’s bridge, as seen from the trail (barely)

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The view of the bridge from nearby was amazing, and hard to take in a single shot, even wide–angle.

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Eliz walked out on the bridge, which was actually a lot scarier from this vantage than it was from on top of it.

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We even found someone to take pictures of the two of us.

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A parting shot on our hike out — precarious rock still perched

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In the evening, we took our hosts out to dinner (salad and pizza) in town.

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The next day we finally made it to the Grand Canyon, which was my second visit there and Elizabeth’s first. We decided to take the classic South Kaibab Trail down to Skeleton Point.

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The trail is shared with mules and their riders, who enjoy the fantastic views from slightly higher up.

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The initial set of switchbacks curl neatly into a finger of the canyon, and its fun to watch hikers go back and forth along it.

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Like ants.

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The ground squirrels were none too shy around people.

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One of the more interesting rock faces. (More pictures of rocks yet to come.)

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The first stop along the trail is the aptly named "Ooh Ahh Point." We oohed and ahhed and pointed.

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Great spot for a panorama, too!

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Another in the series.

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More rocks, as promised.

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Lizard Tracks
Fossilized lizard tracks.

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You didn’t want to stray too far from this section of the path.

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This is where we sat down and had lunch, a good distance from where they parked the mules.

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There are some hardy trees in Arizona, to be sure.

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One of many century plants we saw.

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The last leg of the trail to Skeleton Point.

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The view from Skeleton Point, with a small section of the Colorado River visible in the middle of it.

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The river gorge has many fingers leading to it from all parts of the canyon.

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The Colorado looks a lot closer than it really was in this telephoto shot.

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Next to the river is a green area near Phantom Ranch, reachable in a day but not the same day you hike out(!)

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Looks like this cave would be a nice place to live. A "No Solicitors" sign wouldn’t be needed.

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This is the part of the South Kaibab Trail we were told to avoid on a day hike, leading down to the river gorge.

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Guess this is a sunflower.

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A cactus that reminded me of the minions from "Despicable Me."

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Another hardy conifer.

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We saw a lot of ravens like these, a few vultures, and one or two hawks.

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Another grand squirrel.

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El Tovar lodge & restaurant.

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They were (over)booked for dinner, so we went elsewhere.

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Hopi House

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The doorway to the Hopi House was perfectly sized for us.

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We’re almost at the end of this series (for this trip, anyway).

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While waiting on our dinner reservation, we checked out the Kolb photography and artifact exhibit right on the rim.

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The Kolb Brothers were explorers and documenters of the Grand Canyon, and amongst the first guides to the area.

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We were both pretty tired and hungry, and ended up ordering buffalo burgers at the Airzona Room as the sun set out our window.

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The last rays on the canyon walls

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Night Shot
This is a night shot that went for about 20 seconds on a little tripod I brought. Campfires are visible in the lower right, though I didn’t notice them with my naked eye at the time.

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We think this was a Mexican Spotted Owl, several of which were making friendly noises as we walked by in the dark.

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Our penultimate day, we returned to Meteor Crater, stopping here at Walnut Canyon National Monument just east of Flagstaff.

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The rocks in the canyon were originally seaside sand dunes, so the geologists claim.

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The most interesting part of course are the abandoned cliff dwellings, built by the Sinagua somewhere between 500 and 1400 A.D.

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The original walls extended to the overhang in most cases, and were fully intact at a few sites.

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Think modern apartments without all the amenities.

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Still, pretty cozy

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An intact doorway with smoke vent at the top

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The lintel was made of wood and mortar.

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View of the inside, lit by the doorway and vent hole

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Eliz postulated that a dwelling was buried behind this rock slide and might be in pristine state, like the others before raiders had their way.

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Heading back from Meteor Crater, we stopped this time at the abandoned "Twin Arrows," really just a gas station and convenience store.

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Not so convenient anymore.

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In the evening, we joined our hosts Rob & Aude on their twice–daily walk with their dog.

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Sienna loved rolling in and eating the snow, which was still hanging around from a few weeks ago.

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Good contrast.

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There were some awesome clouds that day.

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Electric Tram
Following a fond farewell to our fabulous hosts, we headed south through Sedona again, this time stopping in the ghost town of Jerome.

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This was Audrey Headframe, a crane that lowered miners 1600 feet into the cavern (and brought them out again, hopefully).

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One of many abandoned copper/silver/other mine shafts in the area

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An abanoned truck or van of some sort. At least, I hope it’s abandoned....

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Azurite is a beautiful blue ore containing copper and other minerals.

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The Jerome museum is a former residence of the Douglas family, some of whose rooms are preserved. Ah, the lap of luxury.

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More luxurious than the cars miners rode down in, anyway

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An ore loader, methinks

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One of many abandoned store fronts in town

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Not a good place for a sock hop

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Oddly enough, the sign out front looks pretty new.

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This is the bar of the BBQ place where we ate lunch — our seats were outside since the weather was so nice.

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An old–time movie projector, back when the lamps were carbon arcs and the film was highly flamable celluloid. Not too many of these survived....

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The post office was still active — I’d love a look at their "dead letter" pile!

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Must have been shiny at one point

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Still shiny, this is the aimable lamp on an old fire truck.

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The Surgeon’s House
One of the most stylish private residences still standing was built for the company surgeon. After the mines, the hospital was probably the busiest place in Jerome during its heyday.

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Hippies moved in at some point and revitalized the town after all the valuable minerals had been tapped out.

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This one speaks for itself.

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All the porches sloped one way or another.

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This particular porch was leading the way down the hill. I wonder if the price was dropping as well....

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Home? Shed? Dumpster?

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The Jail
Construction codes must have been quite lenient.

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One of the few original buildings still standing and in use.

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We loved this place.

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I’m not sure what they were selling — or what they weren’t.

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This was from the shop across the street, also very fanciful.

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We saw some pretty old cars in town — this one had a "historic vehicle" plate to prove it.

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...although these wheels looked even older.

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OK, you win!

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The "Open 24 Hours" sign refers to the roof these days.

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It’s got a great view — looking out!

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Page created April 11 2012 8:47:19p