Thursday, March 23, 2006

Montezuma's Castle

We first visited Montezuma's Castle in October of 2002. Being able to travel to popular tourist areas in the off-season is a prime advantage of the fulltiming lifestyle as you avoid the crowds and in this case, the high heat of Arizona summers. Plus, as you can see from the untouched photo above, you have the beautiful, intense blue skies of fall.

Like similar prehistoric ruins, archaelogists can only theorize why the people who created these early apartment-like dwellings left the area. It's believed these dwellings were built in the 1200s and abandoned about two hundred years later by the Sinagua people who were farmers and traders. While there is mention of ruins in the Verde Valley in the journals of explorers dating back to the 1500s, Montezuma's Castle wasn't really specifically documented until the 1850s. The largest dwelling is five stories tall and has twenty rooms inside.

You cannot access the ruins themselves but you can view them from several angles along a 1/3 mile walking path through the park. There is a small visitor's center with additional information and the trail is handicap accessible. To get there, take exit 289 off Interstate 17 and follow the signs. There is a small picnic area on the grounds where you can enjoy a beautiful day and wonder at the workmanship of the ruins and the people who built them.

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