©Maki Naro

In my own defense, I think the higher altitude was more to blame than my pathetic physicality. Meteor Crater is 5,710ft above sea level—which I didn’t think was that big a deal. But there I was, heavily winded after an ascent that was not much worse than the one I take every day walking up to my apartment.

I remember the first time I saw Meteor Crater as a child. My father had a large collection of the Time Life Nature books*, and the famous aerial shot of the crater was an image that never left my mind. For an imaginative child, the thought of an object hurtling through the space and striking the Earth so hard (with help from the arid, Arizona climate) that its mark can still be seen 50,000 years later, was awe inspiring.

So imagine my delight when I got the chance to visit the actual crater and snap the panoramic photo seen above. It all happened on an impulse-driven road trip across the country I took last week. My fellow road pirate (we’ll call her “Killer”) and I drove to Los Angeles where she had found work and I had some friends I wanted to visit. If you follow me on twitter, you’ve probably seen all the antics we got into along the way. But if you didn’t, never fear: I’ve hand picked some of the more sciencey highlights to feature in the next few days. Including more comics about our trip to Meteor Crater. Stay tuned!

*I think Animal Behavior was my favorite. Along with National Geographic, these are the books that shaped my love affair with science.