16 October 2005

Montezuma to Tuzigoot

Friday the 14th we drove out to Montezuma’s Castle National Monument (http://www.nps.gov/moca/) to see the ruins there. I was struck by how far up this structure is. They don’t have the ladders up anymore, but way back when that’s how they got up there. I couldn’t even imagine, one brick at a time, one bucket (or whatever) of mud at a time, all that way up. It’s really something. One interesting bit of information that made me smile is that these ruins have nothing to do with Montezuma himself. The Spanish when they saw the dwelling assumed it was built by him and called it Montezuma’s Castle and the name stuck. It’s been so incredible seeing all these ancient sights; it really lets you appreciate life from a different perspective.

After walking the short, paved trail there we drove to the Tuzigoot National Monument. (http://www.nps.gov/tuzi/) Again, it’s pretty amazing to be able to see all these ruins, not just to be able to see them, but to learn about the differences in them. These structures weren’t built into a cliff but atop a small hill next to a stream. The entrances were in the roofs, so there are a lot of rooms that look like they were blocked in without an entrance. The visitor center here has a nice set up with a mock room you can look into to see what it might have been like to live in these dwellings. In the ruins themselves you can walk into a room that was once an actual dwelling, you can tell that they’ve done some maintenance to keep the roof from collapsing in. Again, I’m amazed and awed that I have the chance of a lifetime to see all these great places. To walk where people have walked for 100s and 1000s of years. The trails may be paved now, but the fact that I can still stand there and be awed by these structures is amazing to me.

Next we drove home by way of stopping through Sedona. You just don’t get used to driving from the white and brown rock with green shrubs and cactus into the red rock of Sedona. We had a good time driving around some of the scenic drives, stopping at a couple of the trailheads and walking for a little bit, but not really hiking. We did notice one trail that you can take and walk up one of the red rock formations, but neither of us had an interest in doing it that day, maybe another day.

All in all Arizona is beautiful. It doesn’t matter what end of it you are on, it’s just a gorgeous place. I’m really looking forward to spending more time here. The highs where we are currently at are about 65 in the day and low 40s at night. That’s a 30-degree difference from where we were at in Southern Arizona. I have a bit of a cold right now and it’s no wonder, my body apparently didn’t appreciate the 30-degree change in weather all in an afternoon.