Our trip to Northern Arizona, featured in Part 1 of this blog, included some spectacular natural scenery, along with an impressive church set into the mountains of Sedona, Arizona. In this installment, we include two National Monuments that were once the thriving homes of ancient people, long gone. But the fascination remains.
The building carved into the cliffs of the valley afford an interesting look into Indian society several centuries back. However, former tourism has damaged the site, and renovation efforts have not quite matched the site to its former glory.
There are several great vantage points, and many signs around the site describing the various things to see. Back in the 1950's the site was closed to further tourism, and dioramas were set up to show you what was once explore-able. A nice place to sit and contemplate life and where we are in it.
The $10 entry is high, but we are here to support the National Parks and their sites. You can also see the nearby (11 miles) Montezuma Well, a subterranean fed water reservoir.
Active about 1000 years ago, or so, this location used to be at a cross roads of trade, and thus was a very commercially thriving location.
As a native Indian site, the central ruins show the construction and housing of a more permanent nature. The central buildings would accommodate about 100 rooms with even more people. There are several other buildings, one of which is a ball court, where they would play various games; another is a story telling area.
There was also an interesting "air conditioning" tunnel, which brings hot or cold air up depending on ambient conditions to cool or heat the area. The park rangers were great at this location, very informative and very helpful. A few nice dioramas in the main building. It was free on this particular day, but is usually a nominal fee.
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument (Wapatki Loop Road)
Therefore, to preserve the park, you can only look at the crater from a distance, no longer able to climb up or drive up it. This makes for a more meaningfully long term preservation, but not for looking now! Still, it was very pretty to see the various formations and lava flows of the area.