Happy Birthday Chelsea! We had a slow and very relaxed morning, we don’t do much sitting around and chatting at the beginning of the day generally, we’re usually rushing off to get to the next thing. It was wonderful, absolutely brilliant to have Ben and Liz here, it really feels like a holiday week.
It had snowed overnight and there was about a half inch dusting on the ground. The little ones couldn’t wait to get outside and were already red nosed and rosy cheeked before breakfast! They collected snow from all the neighboring picnic tables and built quite a large mountain, topping it off with snow castles made with their sand buckets, they decorated it with the empty beer bottles on the table, so very resourceful!
Before lunch, we left for Montezuma Castle National Monument. Sheltered within a cave high on a limestone cliff overlooking Beaver Creek, this five-story, twenty-room pueblo was once home to prehistoric Sinagua (sin-AH-wah) people. Abandoned after A.D. 1400, this imposing cliff dwelling is now preserved by the National Park Service.
The ‘Castle’ was accessed by ladders when the Sinagua lived here, which must have been incredibly scary. We watched a little re-construction that showed some of the different things they would have done: there was a look-out; hunters; mothers watching their children (think falling off the edge!); corn grinders; weavers – it was quite the community. Until the mid-1900's visitors could actually climb the ladders, they've since been removed.
The Junior Ranger program was a little different, we had one laminated booklet between everyone that just needed various pictures checking off and little questions asked for discussion purposes. It was neat, very family-oriented. We identified an Arizona Sycamore whose bark looks as though it's designed as camouflage: really pretty. We were shown some different items that the Sinagua would have made and used – the woven sandals, both large and tiny, were interesting. They made such great use of everything they found around them and didn’t waste a thing, so tough for us to understand, we have such an easy life today!
From Montezuma, we took the scenic route along Oak Creek Canyon through Sedona. Prior to this week, anyone we met, who had visited this area, told us that Sedona was a ‘must-see’ and that we definitely shouldn’t bypass a visit if we were close enough. It truly is beautiful, nestled in Red Rock Country, it is very aptly named. There were a number of ‘scenic stops’ along the route and we pretty much stopped at all of them. Ben is as avid a photographer as Dave, which makes for a LOT of photographs!
We found a quaint little café: The Secret Garden, in Sedona in which to have a late lunch. We sat outside and made good use of the provided blankets! Thankfully we’d finished eating just as the snow/rain started to come down. We continued our drive home via the beautiful canyon gorges, passing Slide Rock and taking the switchbacks back up to the top of the mountains.
States visited: 49!
visited 49 states (98%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800
Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)