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Just south of the Grand Canyon is Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, where we hiked the lava trail with the kids. Walking on lava isn’t an experience one easily forgets, but I took pictures anyway, lol.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

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The volcano is straight ahead. When it blew, the top came off and left a rather unimpressive lump behind. But still cool. SO cool.

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Here are the stats. That is a LOT of material (1 billion tons), and 800 square miles is a lot of real estate. (Forgive me…I’m a bit of a science geek. LOL.)

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Four of my kids ahead of me on the trail through the lava.

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Nearly 1,000 years after the eruption, vegetation remains sparse.

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A  nice shot of color on this October day at Sunset Crater.

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The side of that mountain has been bare for nearly 1,000 years. It’s a little mind boggling to consider.

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A look at the trail ahead. The differing colors of rock are fascinating.

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The family ahead of me on the lava trail at Sunset Crater Volcano. The hillside looks landscaped…it’s hard to believe it’s all natural and all volcanic.

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I don’t know how long that tree has been there, but it sure fits the setting.

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This is a spatter cone. Lava actually spewed from this vent during the eruption, so to stand here is a bit surreal. This one has eroded over time, but the sides you see were built by the eruption.

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That hooded creature is one of my children. I love the splash of color in this shot, and the distant views are gorgeous.

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I don’t know what this hole is here for, though clearly someone has engineered something down there with the grate. All I know is this kid feels like he climbed into an ACTUAL VOLCANO and when you’re a 7-year-old boy, you can’t get much cooler than that.🙂

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More of the Sunset Crater Volcano lava field.

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This tiny, delicate flower contrasts beautifully with the volcanic rock in the background.

IMG_0553One last look back at the Sunset Crater Volcano lava field with the mountain in the background. We’re hitting the road and heading east, so tomorrow I’ll show you pictures from the trip home. If you’ve missed any of our previous visits, you can catch up here: