Sunday, March 16, 2008

Montezuma and Tuzigoot

The forecast today was for 50% chance of precipitation. Undaunted, we headed out to see some of the local national parks. Our first stop was at Montezuma National Park, and Montezuma's Well. The landmarks were originally misnamed Montezuma by early Spanish explorers who assumed it must be part of the Aztec empire.

Montezuma's Well is a large Artesian spring which fills a small crater next to some extraordinary cliff dwellings. Down the path near the water, which incidentally is 74 °F year-round, the early tribal inhabitants carved themselves irrigation canals to water their fields. These canals still run, pouring into Beaver Creek.

A short way on the other side of the park, near the Apache Nation Casino, is Montezuma's Castle, an incredible cliff dwelling alongside Beaver Creek. All along the creek, the most incredible sycamore trees grow, with bark that looks like Arctic camouflage stretched tight over muscular trunks.

While we were at the park, we witnessed a pair of crows run off a Cooper's Hawk that threatened their nest. The mid-air bird fight was pretty raucous.

Near the town of Cottonwood, we visited Tuzigoot (which means crooked water) National Park. Tuzigoot is another abandoned set of ruins, restored by the WPA in the 1930s. It was very windy, and as you can see, it nearly blew Becky away.

Tuzigoot Park had a nice array of desert flora, including these cacti.

Immediately as we left, and I mean immediately, the weather rolled in. Sleet and snow began falling, and didn't let up until dinnertime. We decided to call it a day and head back home.

We ordered hot pizza, celebrated Kathleen's birthday with cake and ice cream, and settled down to watch movies on the DVD.

© Copyright 2005-2014, Scott E. Harris. All Rights Reserved.
Please do not reproduce or copy without the permission of the author.