Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuzigoot and Montezuma's Castle National Monuments

Today we wanted to visit the two national monuments that are close to us.

We began our day at Tuzigoot National Monument.  Since the high today was supposed to be in the 90's, we thought we would begin here as we had heard there was more shade at Montezuma's Castle.

We arrived at the Visitor's Center, showed our America The Beautiful Pass,  and toured the little museum inside.  

At 10:30, we took the tour with the park ranger up to the top of Tuzigoot.  You can walk up to the top and explore on your own, but since we had the opportunity for a guided tour, we took it.

It was extremely informative. This small stone walled pueblo which overlooks the Verde River was built by the Sinagua people and was inhabited between 1125 and 1400.  It's kind of ironic because Sinagua is from Spanish words meaning without water, but there is water around here.  

The Sinagua farmed the fields down below.

They also had quite a view.  The average family living quarters was 200 square feet.

Jim at the top of the structure.  We also thought it was interesting the way the National Park Service has evolved in their thinking of restoring these structures.  In 1930, walls and ceiling were rebuilt.  Now, they try to leave everything in its original structure so as not to disturb the original contents.

After our tour, we went to the other side to walk the 1/2 mile trail down to an overlook.  On our way back we got this shot of the visitor's center and monument.

After lunch, we went the other direction to visit Montezuma Castle.  From our morning tour, we learned that Montezuma's Castle was completely looted of all artifacts, but the structure was left intact. Tuzigoot was practically buried before archaeologists uncovered it in the early 1900's, but it was full of artifacts.

It was a short, shaded walk down a concrete walk.  We saw people stopped and looking up. We looked in that direction and there it was!


even closer.
It's amazing how high up it is.  It took some long ladders to get up there.  There used to be guided tours through the structure, but those no longer take place.

The trail went into a loop with some other features to look at.

Next, we headed about 5 miles down the interstate to an exit that took us to Montezuma's Well.  It is a sinkhole with   There is evidence that humans have lived here as far back as 11,000 years ago.  Spanish soldiers named it Montezuma's Well because they believed the structures in the cliffs must have been built by the Aztecs.

We took the wrong turn on the trail and actually came to the end where the irrigation ditches were.  It is believed the Sinaguans created the irrigation ditches 1,400 years ago as they developed into an agricultural community.

Columbines surrounded the area.
We found our way back to the trail and got our first look at the large pool.  1.5 million gallons of water come into the large sinkhole from vents every day.  The water is a constant 74 degrees.

We walked down to the bottom of the pool.  Not as many people come out here, so we had the time down here pretty much to ourselves.

People have been coming here for years.  Here is an advertisement from a Phoenix photographer dating back to 1818.

We headed back up to the top following this beautiful path.

It was a fascinating day of exploring other cultures and history!

1 comment:

  1. What a great day of touring you had. So interesting!