Monday, May 18, 2015

Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well, Arizona

It amazes me how people from centuries ago built their homes.  Recently I visited an area known as Montezuma Castle, which is a misnomer since Montezuma wasn't involved and it's not a castle.  The dwellings shown above were built into the wall of a cliff high above a canyon wall.  Since this area was abandoned in the 1400s, we don't know how these were accessed, but other cliff dwellers had used ladders.  Unfortunately, we were not allowed inside these dwellings, since they were closed to tourists in the early 1950s for preservation.  In another area of this cliff, there was an area that had dwellings that were 5 stories high.  Some time in the past, these dwellings fell away from the cliff and all that is left are a few walls and ruins some are shown below.
This area was a beautifully shaded area by the Arizona Sycamore trees, which are shown below.  Going along the property edge was a nice little creek, which had probably been bigger back when the area was inhabited.
A few miles away is Montezuma Well, which looks like a swimming hole in a sinkhole.  It looks like it would be a fun place to swim.  Except for the sign nearby that tells us about the exotic creatures living in the well - like leeches, water scorpions and amphipods that look like small shrimp.  The water continually wells up from the bottom of the pond and at one end of the pond, there is an underwater drain where the water flows into a nearby creek.  It is estimated that 10% of the water is replenished each day.
 High up on the cliff facing the well is one of the dwellings that were inhabited in this area before the 1400s.
This was a nice area to explore, with paved trails near the well and down to the creek area.  I was pleased to note that they have apparently trained the snakes to stay off the trail, so that we would not encounter them unless we strayed off the path.

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