One of the greatest places to see our country's natural beauty. We concentrated our time on this beauty and not the tourist town of Sedona. The maps and information at Red Rock visitor center proved to be very useful.
Near Cottonwood, AZ is Tuzigoot National Monument. The ancient Pueblo is situated on a hilltop and had about 110 rooms. It was originally was built in 1000 AD and abandoned around 1400 AD. The Sinagua were not only farmers but traders. The would travel hundreds of miles to trade.
Montezuma Castle became one of the first National Monuments in 1906. It was home to Sinagua who were cliff dwellers for over 300 years. The cliff dwellings rise above Beaver creek. It is unclear for sure why they left their homes high on the cliffs. The Hopi say that the Sinagua assimilated into Hopi tribes. Nearby is the Montezuma Well. With a constant water supply of 1.5 million gallons of water, the peoples of the area have used irrigation ditches dating back over 1000 years to grow crops and water livestock. The water from this massive sink hole is still used today. The water is not drinkable for humans.
In the Coconino National Forest, there are two other cliff dwelling sites open to the public, the Honanki and Palatki heritage sites. The roads to theses sites are unpaved but accessible by car. They have some of the best preserved pictographs that date back to the Archaic period. Every known native culture has called these dwellings home. During high tourist season, it is best to make reservations ahead of time at Palatki.
We took the Jeep for 3 miles down a Forest Service road and a strenuous hike up the mountain lead us to the Devil's Bridge. Most hiked in from the main road, since the Forest Service road is not passable for most cars. You can walk across the bridge buy many visitors take a few steps out for photos. I was suffering from a severe head cold and the hike up made me slightly dizzy so we stayed safely on the mountain trail. When hiking even a short distance, it is important to bring plenty of water and wear proper footwear. It is amazing to me that many of the visitors to this place had neither.
As we trekked in our Jeep through the rugged terrain, we often passed the Pink Jeep Tours and rented ATV's. On one such trail, we told of a frozen stream. We hiked through the wilderness to find the stream. The best found places are the ones off the beaten path. The frozen stream was smooth as glass.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross, Roman Catholic chapel, is worth a visit. The architets, Richard Heins and August Strotz, of this structure were students of Frank Lloyd Wright.
We traveled seeking the magnificent rock formations, names known and unknown to us, are scattered throughout the region. The Red Rocks of Arizona are among the most beautiful places that we have seen thus far in our country.
Mike & Kat
Kat left teaching after 18 years to travel throughout the USA with her husband, Mike, who is an engineer for a Power generation company.