Montezuma Castle and Well National Monuments – Full-Time RV Life

Our friends, Judy and Roy, and Mike all supported my quest to get my National Park passport stamped wherever possible.  It never failed in helping us find interesting places to visit and edifying history lessons.  Montezuma Castle and Well were no different.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nestled in the Verde Valley of Arizona along Beaver Creek is a 20-room castle built into a tall and steep cliff.  This may not match the modern day definition of castle, as it was home to the Sinagua people who inhabited and thrived in the area 600 years ago.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
View of the castle from a distance.  There are people taking photos, which gives an idea of the scale of the cliff.  It was made into a national monument in 1906 by President Teddy Roosevelt.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Views of the castle as the path brought us closer.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
From this distance, it resembles an adobe-like structure.  How in the world was it built?
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Here’s a closer view of the ancient doorways.  Tourists were allowed to access the ruins by a series of ladders until 1951, when preservation efforts (and probably safety) became a priority.  There is no public access to the caste except by viewing from a distance.  
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
One of the “rooms” located on the lower floor of the cliff.  Tourists are able to see this room up close and photograph without worries of damaging the historical structure.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
This type of tree was prevalent in the Montezuma Castle park.  It’s an Arizona sycamore.  The colors fascinated us, and we dubbed it the “camo tree.”  The one above had an interesting bark pattern.  Most of them had no bark and were a stark white.  

Below are photos of a diorama of how the structure may have looked when the Sinagua people inhabited the area.  It shows them working and managing resources to sustain daily life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Eleven miles down the road is Montezuma Well National Monument.  It is  a natural limestone sinkhole fed by an underground spring.  The water is highly carbonated and contains high levels of arsenic.  The alkalinity precludes normal fish and wildlife to exist in the waters, but there are five indigenous species living exclusively in the Well.  These include species of snails, scorpions, and leeches which exist nowhere else.  There is no swimming in Montezuma’s Well and it was used mainly for irrigation over the hundreds of years of existence.  It was formed around 600 AD.  The local Yavapai Native American tribe call it Hakthkyava, and it is a deeply sacred site because they believe it was where their people emerged.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The path to the well is fairly easy to traverse with a steady uphill climb.  It’s nice to meet the friendly and informative park rangers who were more than happy to answer questions.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Here is a view of the Well with ancient cliff dwellings in the walls.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Well is surrounded by scenic views of the Verde Valley.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Prickly pear cactus and other fauna grow in abundance in the Well walls and surrounding desert.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A closer view of the cliff dwellings left by people who once thrived in the area. 
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I still want to know how they built these homes.  Nobody seems to have definite answers.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Viewing the Well and surrounding dwellings gave me a healthy respect for those who have gone before us.

We had a wonderful day exploring the homes and resources of the Sinagua people and the tribes who inhabited the area after them.  Both sites have beautiful views and interesting plant and animal life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Roy and Judy in front of a beautiful Arizona sycamore.  It was a great day with these guys!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Gratuitous Selfie.  We have to prove we were there.

Have you visited Montezuma Castle or Well?  Since it wasn’t an Aztec site and Montezuma was never there, were you curious how they got their names?

 

Amazon post-related product:  CLICK HERE.

Eden’s Garden provides high-quality essential oils for diffusion (including some wonderful synergy blends for relaxation, rejuvenation, and immune-building), skin care, and products for children.  They also have free shipping.  Take a glance at their website and read the informative blogs for more information on how essential oils can be used in daily life–even the RV lifestyle.  CLICK HERE for more information.

 

Advertisements

17 comments

    1. I always feel like we missed something when we leave a location and didn’t have the time to visit. There’s no way to do it all, but we’re going to try. If not this time passing through, then there will hopefully be a next. 🙂

      Like

    1. Things are starting to slow down for us–needed a respite. 🙂 We are doing a slow trek to Ohio for a family function in June. Traveling along Route 66 (albeit I40), so there won’t be as much sightseeing over the next few weeks. Arizona/Nevada has been chock full of stuff to do.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s