Sunday, October 28, 2018

Day 44 - Verde Valley, AZ - TT

Today, we visited three national monuments in this area. Free admission to all of three with my lifetime senior pass otherwise it would've been $10/person. I guess it’s one advantage of getting older. The first was the Tuzigoot National Monument. The dwellings have been restored with modern concrete used to stabilize the stone walls, especially where rain would erode the mud. This is a fairly large group of dwellings and it’s nice to be able to walk through them.

The location on top of the hill allowed them to see their neighbors on adjacent hills. This site is the most excavated and restored in the area and many others have been located. The surrounding area including the Verde River is absolutely beautiful. It was warm enough without being hot. And, even though it was Sunday, it was not overly crowded.

This is one of the support posts inside of the hilltop dwelling. At first, I thought that this was the work of vandals but upon closer inspection, it’s insects of some sort. They burrow just under the bark and their tunnels are revealed when the bark is removed.

The second national monument was Montezuma’s Castle. This cliff dwelling has twenty rooms. Until 1951, they allowed people to climb up with ladders but after the Interstate went through, the increased tourism shut that down. The display says that there are five levels to this dwellings and supported a fairly large population. In addition to the cliff dwellings, there are numerous rubble piles from other structures on the top and bottom of the cliff.

The third national monument was Montezuma’s Well. BTW, the name “Montezuma” was given by those that initially found them not because of any tie to the Aztecs. There are quite a few dwellings in the cliffs as well as the surrounding area. The water is 55’ deep and is fed from underground springs and has been providing irrigation water to the area for centuries.

They mentioned that the water has a high arsenic content and would gradually kill anyone who drank a significant amount of the well water. But the exit from the well feeds into a creek which sufficiently dilutes the arsenic.

The elevation here is around 3000’ but you can see evidence of fall everywhere. Nighttime temperatures are in the upper 40s (°F) with highs around 80°F. Warm enough to sit around the pool but it gets kind of cold if you’re in the water too long.


SonjaM said...

An amazing place, Richard. I'd love to explore these cultural remnants.

RichardM said...

These are still in pretty good shape. What we now call vandalism ,e.g. carving into the wooden beams, was a common, not-frowned-upon activity back 75 years ago.

Lynne Goebeler said...

That's my favorite thing to do when we visit new places...National monuments! And they are so varied and interesting. Which reminds me, I have several still to blog about. :-)

RichardM said...

I used to pass on the national monuments due to the charge for each one. Not any more with the lifetime pass.

Lynne Goebeler said...

Yes! We are fortunate that Jerry has one too. But the senior pass only allows one motorcycle in, so when we traveled only on bikes I had to buy a regular annual pass. This year we just went in the car, or rode two-up once...