|Flagstaff claims three national monuments within its radar.|
I had never been to any of them until this last trip when I had the chance to visit several. As I said I did not have time for several others, but I'll get back to them one day.
|It does look like a castle. An amazing structure. How did they do it?|
Now scholars called the people who lived here the "Sinagua" people, but that too is a Spanish name ... without water. There IS water, however, and the people that lived here found it and used it well. They had irrigation canals and were excellent farmers. Montezuma Well shows this aspect of the culture ... but the entrance on the highway came up too fast for me to be able to notice and turn off and visit it this trip. Next time.
The builders also traded far and wide because there is source for mining salt nearby ... which they did. Salt was as more valuable than gold at the time, and anyone who could supply it, could become very wealthy. (Recall how the present word "salary" is derived from the Latin word for "salt" and that Roman soldiers were said to be paid in salt.) Archeologists had found all kinds of trade goods from huge distances (way down in Mexico in Aztec territory, even) which were all traded for salt.
The structure of the remaining castle is amazing and inaccessible to the public. Good thing because it's quite fragile now. It's very high up and must be reached by a series of ladders. How on earth it was built is mind blowing. It's five stories tall and contains 20 rooms. It's clearly defensible if that had to be necessary.
|I really like the tiny people here.|
Now you can sit on benches and just contemplate the wonder of it. There is also a diorama that shows what the interior looks like with tiny little dolls that demonstrate what the people who lived there might have done in their daily life.
It looks like you had to climb down into the building from the roof via ladders and the keep climbing up and down while inside. I wondered how old people managed that. Or maybe there weren't that many old people. Or maybe old people moved out to contemporary retirement villages when they couldn't manage it any more. Or maybe old people just did not develop things like arthritis or fragile bones. Maybe their overall healthy lifestyle kept them able until something like an infection got to them.
|Walnut Canyon, view from near the visitor center|
This place was protected fairly early in park service history in 1915. It had been plundered for several decades by 19th century pot and souvenir hunters, so the ruined aspects of the place are not necessarily caused by natural forces like wind and rain. Dynamite helped out sometimes.
|Postcard photographers have better access to places than I do.|
|The hole in the sign is like one of the doorways in the structures.|
I decided I had time for a detour that day so instead of heading right to my overnight stay in nearby Winslow, I back tracked and went north of Flagstaff to Wupaki and Sunset Crater Volcano. These two places are smallish national monuments within national forest land. There is a loop drive through both. You can begin at either monument, end up at the other , and then get back onto US Highway 89 which will take you back to State Street in Salt Lake City and beyond if you want to.
|Here's a place you might like to live in.|
I enjoyed walking up and inside the dwellings. I really liked the terrace features. I could imagine sitting out there with some comfy outdoor furniture, enjoying food and drink and taking in the scenery especially in the morning and at sunset. I like to think that the ancestors did something similar, enjoying what they were able to built in such a harsh land.
|Lovely view from the house in many directions|
|Invite someone over for a nice glass of wine while you watch the sun go down.|