Friday, June 6, 2014

Tuzigoot National Monument

Tuzigoot National Monument was our destination today and we really picked a hot day for the visit. We had planned on taking the 1/3 mile hike to the buildings, but it was just too hot for us to try it. If we get a chance, we would like to drive there very early one morning and make the hike before the heat becomes unbearable.

Many ancient sites in Arizona had been discovered and were uncovered. It wasn't until the 1930s they got around to working on the Tuzigoot pueblo on the outskirts of what is now Cottonwood, AZ. Tugizoot (Apache for “crooked water” ) is the remmant of a Southern Sinagua village built between 1100 and 1400 AD. It crowns the summit of a long ridge rising 120 feet above the Verde Valley. The original pueblo was two stories high in places, with 87 ground floor rooms. There are few exterior doors, entry was by ladder through roof openings. The village began as a small cluster of rooms inhabited by some 50 persons for 100 years. In the 1200s the population doubled and then doubled again.

Aerial view of Tuzigoot - copied from an internet site

The people slowly left the pueblo over a period of a few years and the village was emptied of all people and stayed that way. While it isn't a well known monument, it was very interesting visiting there. The people were mainly farmers and the Verde River flowing by the area contributed greatly to their ability to raise crops. The land near the river was fertile and with a constant water source the village flourished.

They have a very nice visitors center at the monument made out of local stones.  Inside they have a number of artifacts on display, and while it is a small display, the quality of the artifacts is impressive.

There was a "virtual geocache" at the visitors center and we had to send in a picture of one of us at the entrance to the center with our GPS in view.  Since Gerry is more photogenic than I am, I tricked her into posing for the shot.

Tuzigoot visitors center.

The mines in Jerome just west of the Tuzigoot National Monument dumped slag and waste from the mines down the hillside for years and it covered the fields that were used by the people hundreds of years ago.  There have been some efforts to restore the area around Tuzigoot and there is now grass growing where the waste used to be.  It is far from a complete success, but hopefully it is a start and over time the area can be back to it's natural state.

We also took some time to geocache while we were out today and found five interesting caches.  A couple of them were very difficult to find, but eagle eyed Gerry managed to search them out.  We kept the geocaching to a minimum due to the heat, but had fun finding the ones we did.

A stop at the Tavern Grille in Old Cottonwood for dinner was most welcome after the running around we did earlier.  It was just our luck to have a new waitress and she had to keep running back to her trainer to get prices and other information.  We treated it like a game and I told her it was an effort on my part to have her learn the job better.  She kept smiling, I just hope she didn't deposit anything in my food.  Most likely she didn't, since we both enjoyed our meals.

That was our day, how was yours?

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