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Random thoughts and pictures from our travels in a LazyDaze motorhome.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tonto National Monument


Carla loves birds, and this is one of her favorites of the SW, a Gambels Quail.


A shot of the neighborhood.


The Tonto National Monument are cliff dwellings that we can see from our rig, at least the lower dwellings. Upper dwellings are more extensive, but are viewed by appointment only.


The climb is over 300 feet up, but on a nice steep walkway. I think the saguaros here are larger with more arms than in the Tucson area.


Can you imagine walking in this terrain with sandals and trying to avoid all the cacti? Cholla cacti are frequently called Jumping Cholla. Hard and painful to remove from your skin!


As you near the top of the walk. Note the black rock from smoldering fires.


A view from the top! You can see our campground below, next to the lake. Remember, before 1903 the lake was just a river. The Salado walked from here to the river to tend their fields. The river was the only reliable source of water in the Tonto Basin, so irrigation was accomplished through small diversion dams, canals, etc. Which are still visible when the lake is extremely low. Small buildings were built along the river every three to five miles.


This a lower level family dwelling. A fire burned in a small pit near the middle of the room. Above this room was another level with another family. About 35-45 people were thought to live here. The opening goes into a small hallway.


You can see where small timbers were installed in the holes along this wall to support the second floor. This construction is around 700 years old.


A view from behind a wall. Small openings were placed on the exterior walls for just this thing. It was thought that each enclave could see at least one or two more enclaves and that some sort of signaling was used for communication.


With the building of the Roosevelt Dam near the turn of the century, exposure to humans increased. This is a photo taken in 1903 of the structure. Vandalism destroyed major portions of the dwellings in the 1920s and 30s.


Down we go…


These guys are fast!

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