Tuesday, May 30, 2006, Bluewater Lake State Park, New Mexico
We left Sedona yesterday and drove the short distance to Cottonwood and the nearby Tuzigoot National Monument. Tuzigoot is a remnant of an Indian village on the summit of a ridge that the Sinagua people built and inhabited between the early 1100's and 1400. These people were farmers and utilised the nearby Verde River for water for their crops. As can be seen by the remains of their dwellings, they were also quite accomplished architects and builders. They left in about 1400 and nobody has been able to discover why or where they went.
The area around this site was a bustling copper mine in the first half of the 20th century. Now the National Park Service is in the process of rehabilitating the area so that it will revert to the original landscape form that surrounds it.
From there we drove up to Jerome, an old copper mining town. Through its various incarnations it went from rich mining town to ghost town to hippie town to historic and artist town. It is perched on the side of a hill and the narrow streets are very steep in places. There are many resident artists and hence galleries. We were particularly impressed by the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery, which had a huge variety of art and all of it reasonably priced. The artists run the gallery and keep the overheads down.
Our next destination was Montezuma Castle National Monument. This was also a village inhabited by the Sinagua people around the same time period as Tuzigoot. Their village was built in the side of a cliff rather than on the top of a ridge. The detail involved in building a 20 room dwelling in the side of a cliff is mind-boggling!!
Somewhat overwhelmed by all that we'd seen in a few hours, we drove on east to Sitgreaves National Forest and the Canyon Point Campground. It is amazing to be driving through desert most of the day and then to start ascending and suddenly you are in the middle of a pine forest that just seems to go on forever. The campground was once again at an elevation of 7500 feet so it was cold overnight after the mild nights we had been experiencing in Sedona at only 4500 feet! But it was very silent as pine forests have a tendency to be. This morning we woke early to visit the Petrified Forest National Park before leaving Arizona and entering New Mexico.
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