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Meteor Crater, Arizona

 Meteor Crater is actually what started this whole adventure.  I remember reading a book I bought from my childhood friend, Mark Greg for $1.  The book was the Guinness Book of World Records.  Day after day I would sit and read all the factoids until I memorized practically the entire contents of the book.  Under the 'Space' category, there was a picture of Meteor Crater with a small black & white photograph.  At 10 years of age, I knew this was a trip I would make someday.  So, a few decades later, I came across the Wikipedia entry for Meteor Crater and jotted a quick Instant Message to Hannah saying I thought it was interesting.  "Let's Go Let's Go!" was the response and the trip was on.

Directions to Meteor Crater, Arizona

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs.  Meteor Crater is very
well sign posted.  Even in the snow, the crater is a
quick 35 mile drive on I-40 East from Flagstaff.

 

 

 

 

Directions to Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater Road

Almost there.

 

 

 

 

 

Meteor Crater Road

Getting excited!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meteor Crater Signs

Meteor Crater's landscape in the desert.

Meteor Crater's surrounding landscape is miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles.  I love the serene nature of it all.  Far off, you can hear faint rumblings of 18-wheelers.  Other than that, if you find yourself the only one on the rim of the crater, it is a peaceful, easy feeling. 

Honestly, I could have sat there all day and just watched the sun rise over one horizon and set over the opposite one.

 

Meteor Crater surrounding landscape

Meteor Crater elevator.

It was cold and blustery the day we visited the crater and thus scarcely visited.  I made a joke at this sign in the elevator that the limit is 13 persons per WEEK.  In reality, a manager at the crater told me that approx. 300,000 people visit the crater each year.  Hmmm...that means this elevator makes at least 23,000 round trips per year.

Adult tickets cost $15 for entry to the landmark.  I feared the site would be a bit hokey.  To the contrary, the facility seemed very well run.  The folks giving tours and discussing information were very professional and they seemed enthusiastic about their jobs.  I am a fan of earth and space science.  If I am in the area again, I will definitely plan a return visit.

elevator at meteor crater

Meteor Crater observation platforms.

This photograph was taken from an upper level observation platform.  In the photo, you can see a lower level platform.   That platform has viewing scopes permanently pointed at various observable features of the crater.

Definitely look through the one pointing at the SpaceMan.  I have a picture taken through that scope on the next Meteor Crater page.

 

observation platform meteor crater

Meteor Crater after a snow storm.

A snowy hole.  Snow is not completely uncommon and we were lucky to visit on a snowy day.  The contrast of the snow against the disturbed earth really brought out the 3 dimensionality of the strata.

 

 

 

bottom of meteor crater

Snow on the upper ridge of Meteor Crater.

"WOW!" 

rim of meteor crater with snow

Size of Meteor Crater.

HUGE!  The crater is about 4,000 feet across, 2.5 miles in circumference, and about 600' deep.  They say you could play more that 20 games of football on the bottom.

It's big and it really is an impressive sight.  It's amazing what a 150' wide piece of nickel-iron can do if it's traveling at 28,000 MPH.

 

 

meteor crater binoculars

 


Meteor Crater bottom and rim tours.

I desperately wanted to take a quick hike to the bottom.  On this day, it was so cold that none of the employees were outside.  Surely, I could have made my way to the bottom, ran around for a bit, and scampered back up without anyone noticing.

Hikes to the bottom are prohibited.  During cold or inclement weather, rim tours are suspended.

 

rim tour meteor crater

METEOR CRATER ROCKS!!!!

snowfall at meteor crater

Snow on Meteor Crater, Arizona.

Hannah and I both play Ultimate Frisbee in Chattanooga, TN.  So, of course, we had to take a 'Nooga disc with us on our travels.  I debated heavily how far I could flick the disc across the crater.

ultimate frisbee at meteor crater

Ultimate Frisbee at Meteor Crater

An impromptu game of Ultimate broke out in the
courtyard.  You can see the upearthed rim of Meteor
Crater toward the upper right hand corner of this photograph.

ultimate frisbee game meteor crater arizona

The view through an open window.

meteor crater museum

NEXT:  Goofing Around at Meteor Crater

    

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