Meteor Crater (Death Caves Two Guns Ruins Burros) Outing

Last Friday night, two truckloads of 5 guys each heading toward that ‘other’ big hole in the ground up north stopped at 5 Guys in Payson along the way.  After bags of burgers, fries and milkshakes, they emerged as the equivalent of two truckloads of 6 guys each.  Completing a cold first night at Homolovi above Winslow, our exploration of the intersection of outer space, the time of the Anasazi, and the wild, wild west began.  Meteor Crater was an absolute hit, as we explored the massive hole created by the iron-nickel meteor weighing thousands of tons and traveling 26,000 miles per hour impacted what is now northern Arizona with the force equivalent to 150 atomic bombs.  A tour led by a humorous and knowledgeable guide and exploration on our own of the history of both fruitless mining of the hole and subsequent use of the crater for astronaut practice for moon landings was an incredible morning.  But then it just kept getting better.  We headed to Two Guns, a completely deserted ghost town at the mouth of Canyon Diablo, crossing over the old cement bridge from the early years of Route 66, and climbing through remains of the old town’s dilapidated rock buildings.  The scouts had read about some Apache ‘death caves’ further east along the canyon, and after a short search, we also discovered a rickety wooden ladder leading down to a cave opening from which came a blast of cold air reminding one of Lava River Caves farther west.  With periodic openings venting all the way to the surface, and with cellphone flashlights, the boys spent an hour exploring the caves where apocryphal stories describe instances of Native Americans and fugitives from the law hiding out in the 1800s.  Once back on top of the canyon again, it was time to first explore an ancient Mobile gas station ruin, followed by the ruins which bore the name of our state park home for the weekend – the Homolovi, ancestors to the Hopi.  Exhausted, it was back to the tents for an evening of hamburgers, rotisserie chicken stew, and cherry cobbler around a warm fire before bed, only to arise to a herd of wild burros looking for breakfast – burritos, anyone?  On the way out of Winslow, we got a kick out of the creativity that business people in that part of the world employ to stay employed.  As we exited the state park, there was a combination trading post, auto dealer, dollar store all rolled into one, right down the street from the Indian Arts shop where they advertise you can PP by the TP.  Passing by the Eagles’ ‘standing’ corner in Winslow, Arizona, I couldn’t help but think that as usual, this outing was exceptionally conceived, led, and executed by the scouts, and we adults were once again grateful simply to be along for the ride.  Can’t wait to see what comes next month!  

3 Guys digging into 5 Guys
Exploring 20 Megatons of blasted hole
Future astronaut explores moon-like crater on earth
Crawling through the ruins of Two Guns, AZ
Hesitation before exploring the Apache ‘death cave’
Serving window at the Diablo Canyon Anasazi gas station
Did you say burritos or burros for breakfast?
Yes, Eagles, there’s a flat-bed Ford on a corner in Winslow, AZ!