We are getting better at balance – the art of relaxing vs. being on the go, or working on the Castle every day. There is always something that needs to get done around the homestead, places to go, things to see. Yesterday was declared to be one of our balance days – in other words – we took the day off. In the morning, we gathered our cameras and took off around the park to do some leisurely exploring.
Just up the road from our loop stands this old cabin, a fun and interesting photographic opportunity:
This little flower was spotted nestled in a desert bush near the cabin:
A typical desert flower arrangement:
Jim’s good eyes spied Mr. Jack Rabbit, who obligingly posed for me long enough to get a photo – usually all we get is a blurry streak as they bound away:
We drove down to the ponds and marshes located within the park and took a short walk along the pathway:
And watched a river otter enjoying a Sunday swim:
During the afternoon we caught up on some lawn chair reading time outside. Later on, we grilled salmon, roasted asparagus and enjoyed the evening stillness.
This morning we got ourselves out and about to explore the nearby National Monument, Tuzigoot (an Apache word meaning crooked water). The Sinagua Indians settled this ridge around 1000 AD. The pueblo structure probably started as just a few rooms, but as the population increased, more rooms were added. Eventually, more than 250 people inhabited the pueblo. They were an agricultural people and farmed the Verde Valley for around 400 years. No one knows what happened to them. The National Monument was established as part of Roosevelt’s WPA in the 1930’s. We can see Tuzigoot from the hill where the old cabin is:
I’m going to interrupt the sightseeing narrative at this point for a short rant. When we got to the visitor’s center this morning, we went inside to pay. Now, maybe the staff was just having a hard time getting a good start on this beautiful Monday morning, but whatever the reason, we were pretty astounded at the dismal attitude shown by the people we encountered “working” in and around the visitor center. As we walked in, we saw two men behind the counter where we were to pay. They were having a clearly personal conversation and completely ignored us while they chatted away. Finally, one turned to us, glanced at our parks pass and turned back to the other guy and continued their conversation. I interrupted to ask about getting a stamp for my National Parks Passport. He pointed to the stamp’s location and went on with his conversation. I noticed as I stamped my book that they have stickers to purchase. Just as I held out the $1.99 sticker to purchase, the men turned and started walking to the back room. I nearly had to shout to get his attention to make this purchase.
Then we went outside to begin our tour of the ruins. There appeared to be pathways going both directions around the visitor’s center, so we asked a ranger working in the front of the building which way we should go. With barely a word to us, she pointed to the correct path.
Ok, so let’s just leave it at they were having a hard start to the week and move on…
This is a view up several levels of the pueblo to the top, which unfortunately is currently closed off:
Looking down hill to more of the rooms:
Inside the visitor center is this display of how an individual room might have looked when occupied:
What an interesting place! We’ve visited several different ruins in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado and we always find them so fascinating. I envision what their daily life might have been like, but it is hard to imagine living in such close quarters.
After we finished our tour, we poked around Cottonwood a little, found the laundromat, my Weight Watchers meeting location and a place to have lunch. Ah, such a busy life!