Sunday, May 01, 2011

Tusayan, Arizona

Leaving Sedona and traveling towards the Grand Canyon we stop at places of interest along the way.  There is so much to see that sometimes there is a need to say, "I will visit there when I return to this area".  For Bev this will be Petrified Forest National Park (PFNP) and Painted Desert as we are now too far north to go back and yet we did not go as far east as the PFNP.  However Bev could see Painted Desert from a distance as we drove north to Grand Canyon. Here is a glimpse of the NPs we visited today.

The Montezuma Well National Park has a sign that reads: The 1/3 mile, paved and signed trail ahead of you leads up a short hill and down to the rim of this naturally occurring spring in the desert.  Empty cliff houses, caves and ruins of stone pueblos are all that remain of a 14th century farming community that once flourished here.

Montezuma's Castle is a misnomer as the Sinaqua had left the area 100 years before Montezuma was here.  It is a five-story, twenty room multi-family dwelling, not a castle.  It was built over 700 years ago and abandoned in the 14th century.  The Sinaqua reached the castle by a series of ladders, this system provided good defense when required.  The creek provided water and there would have been an abundance of deer, antelope, and bear for food.

Tuzigoot, Apache for Crooked Water is ruins of a Sinaquan village built on a ridge summit.  Tuzigoot was two stories high with seventy-seven ground floor rooms that were accessible via ladders through roof openings.

These words by Dilze'E Apache Historian Vincent Randall speak the truth of Native American history.

Cane Cholla - Opuntia spinosior.  Ouch, can you think of picking the berries from this cactus.  March is called Cactus Moon because the fruits remain on the plant all winter.  Early spring buds were prepared as a boiling vegetable or added to stews.  The abundant fruits have a pleasant buttery flavor and were boiled with squash or baked in a pit.

The Native American's have been selling their handcrafted pottery, jewelry, rugs and more here for years.  Only Native American crafted goods are allowed to be sold at Oak Creek Vista.  I bought another pair of earrings for me and a bracelet for Charlotte.

Oak Creek Canyon is very different from the Grand Canyon that we are headed too (which my son calls, the BIG Ditch). 

We drove from a different direction this year.  We entered the park from the east and as we were coming into the Canyon the weather was changing.  The temperature dropped to 43F/6C and we drove through light sleet/snow but it did not stick.  When we stopped above at Desert View Lookout the wind was blowing and it was cold.  We are now at 7262 feet (2213 meters) so we can expect it to be cold when the clouds come overhead.

When I was here with Andrée and Kees it was very hot and I remember them drinking something from a brown paper bag.  The day with Tanya, Ann, Benny and Bonita was cool and breezy as was the day with Garry.  Today was the worst and here's hoping that tomorrow is warmer for Bev's day at the Grand Canyon.

The Colorado River cutting through the Grand Canyon.  It was late and the light was fading but from here Bev had her first view of the Canyon.  It is spectacular from wherever you see this wonderful place.

The elk wander freely here and as it was dusk it was feeding time on the grass of the gardens, no lawn mower required! The elk still has a winter coat and fuzz on the antlers, it is cold enough to still wear a winter coat. This elk was slightly annoyed with Bev and her camera. At one point, if a fence was not between Bev and the elk, it would have charged her.

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