Friday, April 21, 2017

A tour of the American Southwest 5

Holbrook is a dinosaur-happy place.

But I digress.

It was a cold morning as we checked out of the hotel. Petrified Forest National Park was our day's destination so we headed up I-40 to the visitor center. Big strategic mistake. We should have taken Hwy 180 SE to the southern entrance and worked our way north. That way we would have had time to see the whole thing without doubling back. Oh well, next time...

We came for the petrified logs but what impressed us the most, in the end was the petroglyphs. Not because of the paltry number we were able to sorta see from afar – because of the ones you're not allowed to visit but can see in the book Tapamveni. HOLY CRUD there are a lot of petroglyphs there. This was a major Native American settlement and cultural hub!

see that big block in the lower middle? that's the photo below

just one of the massive petroglyph panels you can't actually walk up to (or even get close)

Down into the badlands...

Petrified logs are much harder than the clay they're in, so they often end up on the very top of ridges...and then they roll down into the gullies.

We had to hurry back so's to not get caught by a closed highway. Snow was falling back home again.

A tour of the American Southwest 4

After camping amongst the Ironwoods it was time to go to our next destination about 40mi north of Phoenix: Agua Fria National Monument. We could hardly wait. Wikipedia says this:

"Over 450 distinct Native American structures have been recorded in the monument, some of large pueblos containing more than 100 rooms each. " 

hmmm, must be around here somewhere...maybe over the edge over there?

Pueblo La Plata

lots of pot shards
as we surveyed this rustic Pueblo, what should appear but a swarm of bees! it scared the bejesus out of us! having thousands of bees flying just overhead as a diffuse cloud really hits a primal nerve. T does beekeeping so it wasn't just that there were bees. there are Africanized bees in Arizona and they could have decided that they just didn't like the look of us and, well, killed us all right there -YIKES!
Oh to have known that the 450 sites were UNEXCAVATED and all but one was UNMARKED. My theory: since Phoenix is just 40 miles away, this is the place where archeology students go to find things to put in papers. Just a guess.

fun little drink holder sticks in the ground

After a very pleasant dispersed camp, we headed toward Petrified Forest national Park. Naturally, we filled our gas tank with ADVENTURE:

Saw this snake sunning itself in the road on the way out the next morning. so THAT's why snake petroglyphs are often so squiggly!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A tour of the American Southwest 3

180 miles as the bird flies was a lot more than that as the car drives. The road from Gila CDNM to Silver City is just crazy twisty - I haven't seen its like since coastal Northern California (like the back of Mt. Tamalpais or way in the north coast mountains). Then it was out to I-10 and into the vast desert expanse and on to the day's target: Tucson (inexplicably pronounced too-sawn instead of tuck-sun). We rented a room, got cleaned up, and the next day we hit Saguaro National Park. Ahhhhh

we came to the right place

lovely little hike

Saguaro live quite a long time. they don't even get their first branch until they're 75-100 years old!

woodpeckers make these holes, use them once, then other things move in (including owls)

still some cactus flowers


what's inside a Saguaro holding it up

part of the quest was to get photos. we camped in Ironwood National Monument, right next to Saguaro National Park

the money shot

note to self: NEVER camp within fall-over distance of a Saguaro cactus

the boys couldn't get enough of their spaceship (things little boys do). that tree behind is a desert ironwood tree. it could be hundreds of years old

8 ft by 8 ft floor: even scrunched on its side, it's big & roomy
we rolled the fly to one side so we could put it back on really fast if a strong wind came up