On Sunday we drove the 75 miles up to Montezuma’s Castle. It was named after Montezuma, but he never lived there. It was not even the Aztec’s who built it. The Sinagua Indians were the ones who built this primitive condo back in the early 1400’s. They built on rooms and floors for nearly 300 years, to accomodate their growing tribe. It is an amazing thing to see, knowing that they had to climb ladders up the cliffs, hauling water, stone, and dirt to build their house.
The ladders to reach the house, and the support beams for the ceilings and floors, were made from the branches and trunks of these beautiful Arizona Sycamore trees. The trees get huge, and have the most amazing bark I have ever seen.
After living in the area for more than 300 years, the Sinagua’s abruptly disappeared from the area. They left no trace of where they went, or why they went. But from looking around at the area, we knew why they chose this area. The alcove in the cliff offered protection from the weather and attack from other tribes. The Beaver Creek offered a water source, and the flat level land at the bottom of the cliffs was excellent for agriculture, where there is evidence that the Sinaguans grew corn, beans, squash, and cotton.
There was more than one pueblo. This one was actually larger than the first one pictured, but it was closer to the bottom of the cliff. It is also not as well preserved as the other one, but you can clearly see the outlines of different rooms here.
yeah, I am in love with the Arizona Sycamore trees. They are just too cool. Did I already say that?
About 6 miles away is Montezuma’s Well. Montezuma’s Well is a sinkhole, a collapsed underground limestone cavern filled with water. More than a million gallons of water a day flow continuously, providing a lush, verdant oasis in the midst of surrounding desert grassland. Montezuma’s Well is 368 feet across and 55 feet deep; it sits at an elevation of 3,618 feet.
This is the creek formed by water that flows out of the sinkhole. It was lush, beautiful, and very cool . We had to hike down a rock walkway to get down there.
I have no pictures from dinner, but we stopped at a place called “The Gathering” in Camp Verde. We all ordered the flank steak on the “elders” menu. We didn’t have to be any particular age to qualify for the elders menu. It is just smaller portions and therefore a smaller price. The steak was good. I had a baked potato and grilled southwestern veggies with mine. FabGrandpa had “cactus rice” with his. It was rice with napalitos in it, which is chopped cactus. He enyoyed his but I just couldn’t go there.
It was a very fun day, sightseeing with our friends. Next, we’ll probably to to Saguaro National Monument. I can hardly wait!