Bob woke up “because the sun was up.” Little did he know that it was 6:30 AM. He went to turn on the fireplace, so by the time we actually got up, it would be warm. It was 50 degrees. The phone was telling us one time and the computer was telling us another time. We finally had to call the campground office to find out what time it really was. Yup! We were off by one hour and totally screwed up on our time zones. Bob finally figured out that Arizona does not observe daylight savings time, but New Mexico does, so there is a one hour difference between the two neighboring states. After it warmed up in the camper, we got up and got our day started. I love this park and our campsite is awesome! Our back window in the camper faces out to the high desert and we have a great view of the sunrise.
It also faces the road into the campground and to the meteor crater, so we can watch the traffic go in and out. We had breakfast and waited for it to warm up a little outside before we decided to venture out. We took the 6 mile drive to Meteor Crater Park around 10 AM.
The meteor impact site was created about 50,000 years ago, with the meteor traveling at 26,000 miles per hour. The 90 foot meteor left a crater a mile across and more than 550 ft. deep. The topography of the crater so closely resembles the moon, that NASA used it as the official training site for the Apollo astronauts. The winds were strong and gusty today at 28 mph, so there were no guided tours along the rim walk. We were told that the path had no railings and was dangerous in such a strong winds. Bummer! This is the beginning of the path.
We watched the 10 minute movie about how the crater was formed and then spent some time going through the museum with hands-on exhibits.
After that, we moved outside to the observation deck to see the crater.
The height of the observation deck overhanging the crater was too much for Bob, so he observed from above. I made my way down the stairs to the deck. That’s me in the first picture waving to the camera.
There was another observation area set against the rocks and out of the wind that many people used today, including me.
There was a third observation deck even higher up on the rocks, but that was exposing yourself to too much wind. At times, the wind gusts were so strong that I had to hold on to the railing for fear of falling down. Once I stood on the deck, it was hard to hold the camera steady enough to take a picture. This is the view from above.
There were some hitching posts along the rim where the mule trail into the crater begins.
This unusual looking rock formation is actually the size of a house, but looks small from this distance.
This white area in the middle of the bottom of the crater is a mine shaft where the man who discovered the crater dug into the earth looking for the actual meteorite that created the crater. Little did he know that it vaporized and melted into very small fragments.
They did find some bigger pieces like this replica.
In the center at the bottom, the museum placed a replica of the US flag and life-sized 6′ astronaut to represent Neil Armstrong’s famous walk on the moon.
We spent a lot of time looking at the crater and all the displays that were set up at the museum. The view of the San Francisco Mountains was awesome from the museum.
It was all very interesting and definitely worth the time and money to see it. After our visit to the crater, we returned to the campground for a relaxing afternoon out of the wind! We had lunch and I gave Auggie a chance to run around in the dog park. Rvers drove past on the road to Crater Park–some staying in the campground and others just made a quick side trip to the crater and then kept going. RV parking is provided at the crater. It was a beautiful day otherwise, with a temp of 77, sunny skies with cotton ball clouds, and WIND! The locals told us that they tell people when they ask about the wind, that “you get used to it, but you never do”. They said it’s windy a lot of the time and they’ve had winds of 110 mph. The wind was gusty at times this afternoon, shaking the trailer. It freaked Auggie out. We had dinner and took a sunset walk with Auggie. By the time the sun went down, the wind had subsided a lot. All the clouds from the day were gone and the sky was clear.
After it got dark, we went out to view the stars! It was so amazing…and so dark! The Milky Way was visible along with thousands of stars. With no ambient light from the city or anything else out there to destroy the darkness, the stars were EVERYWHERE! It was awesome! You don’t get many moments like that in the city. We said we couldn’t remember the last time we saw the Milky Way like that! Tomorrow, we have a fairly short drive to Williams, AZ and the Grand Canyon for 4 days, so we don’t have to get up too early. The winds are supposed to be a lot less tomorrow, so it will be an easy drive. (this is our neighbor. She and her husband were getting things ready to leave tomorrow. The unusual thing about her is that she is wearing ear muffs and flip flops. Hmmmm!)