November 28, 2011

11/18/11 – Montezuma Well NM

Montezuma Well is actually a part of Montezuma Castle National Monument, but they’re 11 miles apart.  The “visitor center” is just a little trailer with a ranger next to the trail.   
The short trail to the well is paved.  The well is a limestone sink formed by the collapse of a huge underground cavern.  Continuously flowing springs keep it full, and the ancient Sinaguas used it to irrigate their crops.
There are a couple of cliff dwellings.  (There’s supposed to be one across the water too, but I couldn’t find it.   Maybe your imagination is better than mine.)
An even shorter trail leads down a bunch of steps to the Swallet Ruin.  What’s a Swallet Ruin?  It’s a house that was built next to the swallet.  What’s a Swallet?  That’s the opening where the stream disappears underground.  (This concludes the educational portion of our program.)

There’s another really short trail to the well outlet and the Sinagua irrigation channel, but be sure to stay on the trail!  
Can you read that last sign???  It says "Warning!  Falling prickly pear."  George is looking up to see the prickly pear growing on the edge of the cliff.

The trees there are Arizona Sycamore—I love their bark!   The patterns could be used for fabric or maybe a jigsaw puzzle.  (I’ll ask Charlotte to check out the puzzle idea.)
The trail back to the parking lot leads past some pueblo ruins.  (Work harder with your imagination!  I'll bet you think they just look like a pile of rocks.)
On the way out of the park we stopped at the Hohokam pithouse.  All the stuff that looks like a building is really just protection for the floor where the wall posts stood.  (You might need to use your imagination again.)

We sure didn’t get much exercise on this one, except maybe the imaginary kind.

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