. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Verde Valley and Back to Sedona

This morning's adventure took us south of Sedona to the Verde Valley near the intersections of Hwy 179 and I-17. We explored Montezuma Castle National Monument and Montezuma Well. The area is within a fault zone and was once a freshwater lake 12 million years ago, forming a white limestone from the sediment. Scientists believe that faulting caused the lava dam holding in the water to fracture and the lake to drain 2 million years ago.

In a cave in the Verde Limestone, the Sinagua peoples built what is now called Montezuma Castle around 1150 CE. The structure is a 5-story, 20-room dwelling standing 100 feet above the valley. Early settlers believed the structure was Aztec in origin and named it "Montezuma" after the great Aztec emperor. The name has stuck. The Sinagua built this dwelling above Beaver Creek, which is now dry. Perhaps that was why the pueblo people left the area.

Eleven miles northeast of the castle is Montezuma Well, a limestone sink hole that formed by the collapse of an immense underground cavern about 11,000 years ago. There are still
springs that feed it so it remains full of water (a constant 76°) and there are species that live there that are not found anywhere else.

The Sinagua irrigated crops with the sink's water and built irrigation ditches to help them. There are cliff and cave dwellings and pueblo ruins to see along the trail. Stairs take you down 150 feet to the shoreline where there is a shady area with ruins. Another set of stairs down the trail takes you to a natural oasis where the 1,000-year-old irrigation ditch still flows today.

On the way back to Sedona, we stopped for two quick picture opportunities: Bell Rock and another view of Cathedral Rock. Since it was 93° outside, we didn't stay at either place very long, preferring to get back to the timeshare and the air conditioning and pool.

Tomorrow's Adventure: The Grand Canyon!!!

P.S. Bell Rock was another vortex location....nada!

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