Saturday, October 24, 2015

Touring the sites of Camp Verde

10/21 We made a tour of the national monuments in the Camp Verde area. There are three Montezuma's Castle, Montezuma's Well and Tuzigoot National Monument. They are all close together and quick to see.
This is Montezuma's Castle so named because people mistakenly believed that the Aztecs had been here and built all the cliff dwellings. From the visitors center, the trail is a gentle slope downhill and loops around back to the VC with signs all along the loop explaining various things about the life of the people who lived here.
 This ruins is that base of a five story dwelling that rose along the cliff.
 We jumped on I-17 North and I snapped this photo of an American flag on the bluff between the two split lanes of the highway. There has been a flag on this bluff for at least twenty years. If you can't see it, look at the semi truck then follow the cliff up to the left to the bluff that is higher than the others. Its small so don't feel bad if you don't see it.
 Next stop was Montezuma's Well. The well holds 1.6 million gallons of water and is replenished from fresh water springs deep in the earth. The water disappears into a cave and then drops into a stream. The ranger told me to go around because the short way had stairs. The two trails meet at a stairway down into the creek to see the outlet of the well. I had to traverse a short section of sand and rock because where the trails meet has steps. (think of a triangle, one point has steps where it meets and the other side is rock.) The trail was very steep also I don't recommend a w/c user take this trail if you don't have good help or great brakes.

 On the way out we stopped at a pit house they have enclosed.

Then it was on to Tuzigoot (pronounced Tu-c-houd not tuzzy gut:-) This has a nice little museum that displays artifacts found at the site. Two guys came by looked at a hill of rubble and said "that looks like a good place to dig." So they excavated the ruins and rebuilt one of the houses so that people could see what the site might have looked like. Now the park service frowns on that kind of defacing of a site and leaves them as they find them. Not so in the 1930s when the CCC was employing our young men in the middle of a depression.
The trail here is not accessible. It is paved but it is steep! Becky pushed me most of the way.

The structure on the top is the one that is rebuilt. There are stairs into it and onto the top of it.

All day we played tag with the rains. In Wickenburg, near Phoenix, they had two days in a row where they received an inch and a half of rain in an hour. They had to have dump trucks and front end loaders scrape the dirt off the roads that the flooded creeks deposited on their way through. I felt lucky that we avoided all of that.
From Tuzigoot just north of Cottonwood, we turned south on 89 and drove up into Jerome which sits a mile high on the side of the mountains facing Cottonwood. Jerome is an old copper mining town and they have a state park there for display of items associated with mining based around a mansion built by one of the mine owners.

Downtown Jerome is a series of switchbacks with the houses stacked on top of each other. We cruised past the fire station to the Gold King Ghost Mine Town. Really a place for a junk collector to get people to pay him to look at his junk. But he had some interesting junk. First I drove by the ghost town and up the hill behind it to the top. A dirt road, I can't pass it up. Sure wish I had a Jeep or a side by side:-) Last trip I wanted a motorcycle to shoot the twisties and the time before that was 20 years ago and I was staring out the window while dad drove. We still talk about that trip. Hi, Dad!

 A few views from the mountain top.

The engine would shoot fire out this dragon shaped tail pipe.

The engine in this truck is over 100 years old. It has four cylinders and the guy had to drip a little gasoline into the cylinders, close them up and then use the hand crank to fire it up. Started on the first turn.

 After looking at junk and then cruising for a parking spot, we ended up at the Haunted Hamburger, a recommendation by Ken and Lora. Wednesday is half priced hamburgers and we started off with dessert. Becky had carrot cake and P and I split a large chunk of chocolate cake that was basically three pieces in one. Then we had hamburgers. I didn't snap any pics because we were hungry, I forgot and we dove right in. It was worth the trip!
Then it was back to the trailer and off to bed after a little television.

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