Arizona 2012 Day 3: A desert wetland and native history

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Monday May 21, 2012

Well, yes, day 2 was pretty an absolutely spectacular human experience at the Grand Canyon. Today was SO much more a quiet day after that, and a 5 hour drive to Tucson. But today’s adventure with our Archealogy Scientist and History expert by our side was simply a moving adventure.

No, we skipped the B&B breakfast to join Homer & Evan….We drove out to the farm country Evan lives in, saw his garden just getting started….loved that, and some of his work. Just beyond his place, a turn on a rough dirt road, and soon we’re parked for beginning today’s hike:

**Remember, almost any of these are bigger to show scale: a CLICK may surprise you**


WHAT? THAT’s the DESERT? That was one astounding fact to learn on this trip: AZ wasn’t NEAR the desert 100 yrs ago it has already become after NEW Americans arrived and have sucked out enough water to drop local water tables 100 ft…. (can that EVER be saved?). THE PIC ABOVE shows a wetland being restored using “reclaimed” water from Tucson….it is a beautiful, calm, place.

We hiked up this little waterway for a while to arrive at a waterfall area that was gorgeous among the big rocks:

Here’s where Homer & Evan begin pointing up on those rocks to the right…..and we began a little adventure studying petroglyphs that Homer dates about 1000 yrs ago….. (I HATE it when I hear New Americans say we arrived in America where NOTHING was happening…….Whew! We destroyed an entire civilization). The petroglyphs gave me many feelings inside about these people who lived here:

So we began climbing up next to those rocks…..to see these closer…..

These faint carvings ran all along this cliff face:

At one point Homer showed us why site exploration isn’t always advertised……see the star? WHY do people do this:

Aways down these cliffs this enormous deep smokey cave opened up….up from the stream, and I can only imagine the meetings Indian people had here with locals and travelers they would trade with:
**YOU MUST CLICK on this picture***

On the hike out, we saw remains of another kind of home:

On a different scale, other life is thriving here……hundreds and hundreds of little treasures cover the entrance to this pack rat’s nest:

What a morning! Finally, we drove out, continued out to I-10….drove a few miles, and only couple miles off this freeway (which must cover thousands of relics over its mass distance), Homer & Evan showed us “pit” home sites, i.e., homes that had been dug halfway into the ground obviously to be cooler…. Pottery was made here from the orange cinder cones… They’re “pit” homes as the center of the site caves in over time and pottery shards are everywhere:

In a few seconds, I had these all in my hand. They show the local orange plain shard, and painted, etched shards showing pottery brought from other places to do trading:


And stern Homer would not let me keep ONE tiny piece of these beautiful relics.

This was a fascinating place…….dozens of pit homes, knowing this was a community at one time…….heartfelt quiet.

But time was moving on, we returned to part with Evan, and Homer began guiding to his home in Tucson where new adventures awaited……………….FIRST I MUST SAY: We arrive after Homer a few minutes. He IS a wildlife magnet….with feeders up, his yard was FULL of doves, thrashers, sparrows, finches and hummers. I gained new respect for our host.

One Response to “Arizona 2012 Day 3: A desert wetland and native history”

  1. Rain Trueax says:

    Fascinating. I always love going to the sites of the Sinagua, Hohokam, and Anasazi. There are some interesting books out on their culture. Basically it’s an area that has seen much change including droughts that they think likely drove many cultures from it in the 1400s. Although that’s still argued. You did visit some places that need to be protected but are so special when one comes across them.

    People see Arizona as desolate but areas like our home in Tucson are lush with wildlife and different types of vegetation. I sit there sometimes watching all the birds fly around and feel like it’s a paradise.

    Tucson is pumping water into the water table and using a mix of that and what was still there. Of course, that has its own iffy aspect as it’s water from the Colorado which is impacting its basin and did cut a big scar across the state that forms a natural barrier to many wild beings. And that was done under Carter, which still amazes me.

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