after our long stretch in southern arizona, we moved a little bit north, to cottonwood, giving us plenty of options for new places to explore. within a half an hour, there were two national monuments (tuzigoot and montezuma castle), both of them preserving the ruins of communities of native folks who once called the verde valley home. also, in a similar vein, there were some pretty amazing petroglyphs, probably by the same groups of natives, just a bit north, near sedona.
derek took off one day while we were at cottonwood, and we had high hopes of hiking in sedona, but the weather did not cooperate. so, instead, we decided to drive through sedona, and stop and check out some petroglyphs along the way.
the old v-v (pronounced vee bar vee) ranch, now part of the national forest service, sits on land that at one point was home to the sinagua people. so, there’s remnants of the old ranch, along with a rock wall filled with amazing petroglyphs. we started at the visitor center, and then hiked along a trail that took us past all the ranchy stuff to the rock wall.
there are over 1000 petroglyphs on this one wall. the volunteer explained how some of them were likely part of a solar calendar. some were drawings of nearby mountains. some are about journeys, or new life, or celebrations. it was pretty cool.
after an iteration and a half by the volunteer, we hiked back out to the car. and continued onto sedona.
for our final excursion, derek took off work a bit early and we hit up montezuma castle national monument. funny story. it’s neither related to the aztec ruler montezuma, nor is it a castle. but. you know. america.
they had several sets of ladders leading up to the base of the structure. they would have to pull them up at night to keep out intruders. inside, there’s several more stories, all navigated by ladders from behind the walls. lots of ladder climbing in those days.
and that wraps up our adventures in the (former) people of the verde valley in arizona. for this time around anyways.