Posts Tagged ‘stars’

Pyramids and town fair

1st May 2011 by Helen
climbing the pyramid of the sun

climbing the pyramid of the sun

Yesterday we were looking for the pyramids we knew to be in the area just NE of Mexico City.  We got sidetracked by the setting up of a town fair in Tecamac and camped in a nearby Pemex garage (another night with earplugs for Paul of course, me I just slept).

Anyway, today we found and explored the pyramids at Teotihuacan.   Paul in particular marvelled at the engineering feat in creating such a perfect layout of the pyramids so that the celestial sky was represented on earth and everything was level.

musical acrobatic display seen in several places around Mexico

musical acrobatic display seen in several places around Mexico

It wasn’t until we visited the Anthropological museum in Mexico city a few days later that we really began to get a grip on the culture and history of the site.  There are hundreds of artefacts on display there.  The culture seemed more advanced that we might have expected and the site itself is enormous. 

We did not fully understand the significance of all the tourist souvenirs being hawked by the hundreds of hawkers at the site – the obsidian heads, funeral masks, as well as various items of jewellery.  However these also made more sense once we had been to the museum.

brightly dressed dancers at Tecamac town fair

brightly dressed dancers at Tecamac town fair

Afterwards we returned to the town of Tecamac.  This appears to be quite a small town yet the extent of the fair is amazing.  We watched a troop of young musicians play some eight or more pieces of music, all with choreography, lasting at least half an hour.  There were some very energetic dancers, in traditional Indian costumes, who again danced for what was absolutely ages without flagging.

Tomorrow we are due to meet up with Jaime and travel into Mexico City.  So for tonight we returned to the Pemex garage on the way into the city.

Campsite – Pemex garage on Highway 57

Distance travelled – 117 km

Stars in the Night Sky

12th February 2011 by Helen

One of the differences we have experienced on our travels has been to actually see the night sky.  England has so much light pollution and clouds it’s not often you get to see a clear starlit sky at night.  Right through Kazakhstan, Mongolia, the Russian Far East, and now in the US, the huge open spaces of country means a lack of light pollution has given us the chance to see some startlingly clear starlit skies.  Here in Flagstaff is based the Lowell Observatory and so we took a chance to take an educational walk around their exhibition here and a peek through the telescope.  We were told that we were looking at the ‘birthplace’ of new stars in the sky when we looked through the telescope.  The exhibition was informative and the pictures amazing, but I’m afraid much of it still went ‘over my head’ and I’m resigned to just admiring rather than understanding astronomy.

Wild West and the Pony Express

27th January 2011 by Helen
a quick and easy breakfast at our frosty campsite just past the town of Gold Hill

a quick and easy breakfast at our frosty campsite just past the town of Gold Hill

We spent much of the day following a part of the Pony Express trail that runs through the desert plains of Utah, below Bonneville and Salt Lakes.  If ever there was a part of the country that would remind us of the Westerns we watched as kids, this was it.  It was not hard to imagine the white settlers holed up in their flimsy houses out on the prairie, fearful of attacks from the native Indians.  The scenes were of hills and plains, barren and desolate.  We passed old abandoned hoppers where some kind of mining had presumably been carried out in the past and rocky hills eroded by the wind and weather.  Small stunted bushes were everywhere with only the occasional small stunted trees.

Landy pulls up at the Boyd Pony Express Station

Landy pulls up at the Boyd Pony Express Station

We stopped at some of the old Pony Express staging posts, including Canyon Station and Boyd Station, where they changed horses in the race to get the mail from east to west.  It’s hard to believe that the Pony Express which was such an important part of this time in American history, only lasted a couple of years, put out of business by the development of the telegraph.

in the mouth of Hot Springs Cave

in the mouth of Hot Springs Cave

We passed an old cave in a hill, called Hot Springs Cave, where we climbed to see the view and take some photos, before heading on through Fish Springs National Wildlife Reserve and the Fish Springs Staging Post.  This was where we left the Pony Express Trail to pick up the road to Delta on our way to Moab.

Town map

Town map

After passing through the farming town of Callao we stopped to look at some amazing eroded sandstone hills.  It seemed a good place to camp and we had a warming evening beside a campfire, good old Western style, at the foot of these ancient rock formations.  We could see the area had recently been visited by a herd of Pronghorn Deer – whose tracks were all over the place.  Apart from that there were no birds, no insects, no noise, just us, the desert, the juniper trees and a myriad of stars hanging in the night sky.

campsite at the foot of the eroded sandstone cliffs

campsite at the foot of the eroded sandstone cliffs

Campsite – at the foot of the sandstone cliffs, close to the Thomas Range Mountains – camped at 5361 feet

Distance travelled – 67 miles