Saturday, June 17, 2017

20 November 2016 One Last Day in Arizona

It was the last day in Arizona for us and our journey for the day was to travel from Flagstaff back to the hotel in Phoenix. We started our day exploring a bit of the desert areas off I17 with Ali making certain we didn't stray too far from the highway. There were plenty of caches listed but we had more than a few unsuccessful hunts on the day.

Shooting things and leaving trash in the desert seem to be the main hobbies for some visitors. Navigating the terrain means keeping your eyes open for rattlesnakes and broken bottles left behind from the shooting. While looking for the hazards, there is a lot of desert life to observe.

Angelita Daisies are popular in southwest gardens where they can form large, low-maintenance clusters. I enjoyed seeing them much less dense in natural surroundings.

The native tribes relied on juniper berries and pine nuts for nutritional sources. Both were present on our walk.

Pinon trees yield nuts only every 3-4 years. We were lucky to spot a number loaded with nutritious pine nuts.

It's a rough world out there.

Our next stop included two climbs, one to a great view and one to a ruins site.

Taking in the long view

The rental car looks small from up here.

Ruins at the top

A cave dwelling in the side

Looking Inside

Our next stop on the journey south was Montezuma Well. The geologic feature is a huge limestone sink hole. The sites also included nice rock faces, ancient dwellings, lush vegetation and ducks.

Above the Sinkhole

Looking across at the dwellings

Looking down on lots of ducks including these widgeons

Bufflehead enjoying the rain.

The water flow created an oasis to walk through.

There is a path to walk beside the ancient structures.

Our last visit of the afternoon was a cold, wet stop at Montezuma Castle. The structure pre-dates the arrival of Europeans in the Americas. We stamped our NPS passport and checked out the exhibits indoors before making our way to the trail. Despite the weather, the center was really busy.

There are still openings visible for the many rooms on the lower level. It's amazing the think that until 1951, the US Government allowed visitors to climb to the entrance by ladders and freely explore the fragile remains.

The trail at the site was dotted with eye-pleasing sycamores.

It was time to go home and return to the real world. It was amazing while it happened.

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