Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Montezuma's Castle

We set no record in getting up early, packing the car and heading back to Canada this morning.  Left Rancho Del Lago around 8:45 AM.  Everyone asked us how long it takes to get back to Canada.

It really depends on how how often you stop and how much fooling around one does. Every time we go speeding down the highway we say, "Wouldn't it be nice to stop and take in some of the sights along the way? To drive to Calgary is about 28-30 hours... but we will spread it out over 5-6 days.

This trip will not be like any other in recent times.  Usually we go flat out... like being in a car race... or an airplane!  We often can do 1,100-1,200 km. per day, trading off drivers.  Not this time.

This time we are not measuring how far we go each day... rather it is how much we can see, how many photos we take and how many new adventures we experience.  Shirley packed a picnic lunch and we spent an hour enjoying it at a viewpoint rest stop overlooking Horsethief Canyon... and very soon after we were at Monty's Castle.

How did the original owners get access to their home in the cliffs?

They used ladders.  In fact up until about 1960 they allowed tourists to climb up the ladders and go inside the rooms built in the cliffs!  How scary would that be?

The Verde River provided a wonderful water supply in this high desert community. It also made irrigation possible for growing corn and various crops to provide for their needs.

Closer to the valley floor were several foundations where more multi-family residential units once stood. This community dates back to around 1300 AD.

This mortar was used with a pestle to make corn meal and such.  How many bushels of corn might have been ground on this stone over the centuries?

This diorama had a continuous recorded message to take you thru what people were doing on each of the five levels in this castle.

So that we can see the people in each of the rooms they built this model leaving off the outside wall.  It made the empty rooms in the castle come to life.

It is easy to see the river clay mud cracking on the walls... and to keep these homes maintained was a continual task that these indians had to do every few years.

In addition to the deluxe accommodations there were numerous caves in these south-facing cliffs.

Teddy Roosevelt established this property as a National Monument in 1906 with the signing of the American Antiquities Act.  What an amazing site to visit.  Just think, over 600 years ago these indian tribes developed one of the first multi-family condominium developments in history... and with passive solar heating and an awesome view!

Not far to the north is Monty's Well.

This is one amazing well... over 55 feet deep this spring keeps boiling up fresh water and sand 24 hours a day.

Around the top rim there are a few more cliff dwellings.  You can't beat this waterfront location!

The water runs out the reservoir into an irrigation type ditch.  This sweet little boy is about to get his photo taken by his mother.

I could not resist taking his photo at the same time.

Tall trees grow between the irrigation ditch and the rock wall.

The Verde River is very slow moving here... and the reflection was amazing.

What a great piece of rock work on these steps.  I love to see real natural stone well used.  Today in the construction industry the shift is to man made stone products.

To get Shirley's perspective on this day's adventures click here and check out her blog.

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