Thursday, August 25, 2016

Last day in Payson, AZ

Today, Jean and I went on our last outing in this area. Tomorrow we head to Chandler, AZ, for six days then  to Mesa, AZ, for four months.

We headed to Tuzigoot National Monument.  
The name is Apache for crooked water.  The monument is the remnant of a Sinagua a Village.  It is 120 feet above the Verde Valley.  The original pueblo was two stories high in places, with 87 ground floor rooms.  There were few exterior doors; entry was by ladders through roof openings.

We left Tuzigoot and headed to Jerome, AZ, we were told that it was a unique town.  Well....I would say that.  It is built on the side of a hill.

Jerome, Arizona is a ghost town alive and well. From wickedly wild to wildly artistic. Located high atop Cleopatra Hill between Sedona and Prescott, this historic copper and gold mining town founded in 1876. When gold was discovered in Jerome, miners, gamblers and bad boys of the old west flocked here. Saloons and bawdy houses were the entertainment after a hard days work. At one time, Jerome was the fourth largest town in the Arizona Territory with a rowdy population that reached over 15,000.

When gold and copper deposits dwindled, Jerome AZ became a veritable ghost town with about 50 residents that stayed behind. Although Jerome is now a treasured tourist magnet, comprised of artists, writers, unique boutique shops, wine bars, quaint dining spots and amazing views across the Verde Valley. Its appearance has not changed much in the last 100 years.

Many of the old buildings from the late 1890s still stand and are occupied by proprietors while many structures are fragment relics from its very early days. Because Jerome was built on the side of a hill, gravity and erosion has caused building to slide down the 30 degree slope. Tourists can enjoy walking among the buildings of historical significance while shopping for art treasures and dining on outside patios overlooking the views.

During its rough and tough days, Jerome was given the distinction of "Wickedest Town in the West". Saloons and brothels lined the streets. Jerome, Arizona produced over a billion dollars worth of gold, copper, silver and zinc during a period of over 70 years until the last mine closed in 1953.

We were told to take 89A from Jerome to Prescott because it was scenic.  I found out too late that there was 127 curves going straight up in 12 miles.  Check out this You Tube video if you want to see how hair raising this was

We took the highway back to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park.  This is $7 per person.  Since this is not a National Park, the senior pass does not apply.

 It is believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. The bridge stands 183 feet high over a 400-foot long tunnel that measures 150 feet at its widest point.
Javalina's roam freely on the grounds.

Well, another full day.  Hopefully, tomorrow will be a quieter day.

Sedona and Montezuma

Yesterday, Jean and I planned to go to Sedona, two hours away, because everyone we have ran into lately has told us how pretty it was. There was also a quilt shop participating in the Row by Row Experience and a yarn shop that we felt we should check into since we would be in the area.

On the way, we stopped at a Vistors Center in Camp Verde, AZ, to get more information on Montezuma Castle.  We were only a few miles away so we decided to go there first.  Montezuma Castle is in the Verde Valley.  The visitors center at the castle has displays explaining the early life of the inhabitants including weaving and pottery.  The path to the ruins is only about .03 tenth of a mile on hard paved surface, easily accessible by the handicap.

It is said that the original structure was five-stories and occupied a cliff recess 1100 feet above the valley.  It is assumed it was Aztec in origin hence the name Montezuma Castle.
A depiction of what the interior looked like.

A few feet away is Castle A which nudges a cliff base.  This area is badly deteriorated.  It was once a five story apartment building with about 45 rooms.
We headed back to the visitors center 

Then headed to Montezuma Well which was a short drive from the castle.

 The well is just 80 feet above the ranger station up a steep hill, however we found later that they had built a paved path that was a longer walk that was accessible by wheel chair. 

I could see why the ranger called this an oasis in the desert.  The well received less than 13 inches of rainfall, yet the Well contains over 15 million gallons of water.  Everyday the Well is replenished with 1.5 million gallons of new water.   It is like a bowl with a crack in its side, the water overflows though a long, narrow cave in the southeast rim to reappear on the other side at the outlet.

There is no fish in the well because they can not breath in the water.   The water contains arsenic and high amounts of carbon dioxide.  In the absence of fish, life has evolved like no where else on the planet.  A tiny amphipod, a shrimp like crustacean, that is no bigger than your small fingernail, thrives.  
Located above the Well

I am heading down to Swallet Ruins on waters edge

A saw this catus growing out of a rock and found it fascinating.

We decided not to go to the Outlet and headed back to the car and on to Sedona.

We came over a rise and I almost wrecked it was so beautiful.
This Bell Rock

We were hungry so I had Jean find us a restaurant.   She liked the reviews for Javelina Cantina and it says that you would have views overlooking the rock mountains.
The food was amazing.  We could not eat it all, so the leftovers is lunch for today.