I left Phoenix on February 25th after having my Motorhome in the shop for 3 days (More on that in a different blog). So by the time I got it out of the shop around noon, did some grocery shopping and dumping my tanks I was ready to get out of the 82-86 degree heat of Phoenix and did not want to stay another night in a hot parking lot. I am very much enjoying the warmer temperatures but when it gets this hot there needs to be someplace to jump in a pool or someplace to cool off! So I headed out of town around 3:30 PM heading for Sedona. I got about an hour out of town and came to Sunset Point rest stop, it was very pretty and cooler so I decided to just stay there for the night.
When I awoke the next morning I continued on my journey. I first came to Montezuma’s Castle so I stopped to take this tour.
Montezuma Castle was one of the first four National Monuments declared by President Theodore Roosevelt on December 8, 1906. At this time, few original artifacts remained in the structure due to looting. Artifacts were uncovered in another area of the ruins in 1933 which increase the understanding of the Sinagua People who inhabited the area for over 400 years.
Early visitors to the monument were allowed access to the structure by climbing a series of ladders up the side of the limestone cliffs. Due to extensive damage to the structure, public access to the ruins was stopped in 1951.
Montezuma was the name given to the cliff dwelling when European-Americans first came across the ruins in the 1860’s. They named them for the famous Aztec emperor “Montezuma” in the mistake that they believed he had been connected to their construction.
Montezuma Castle is about 90 feet up a sheer limestone cliff, facing the Beaver Creek. It is one of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in North America, in part because of its ideal placement in a natural alcove that protects it from exposure to the elements. The dwelling is almost 4,000 square feet of floor space across five stories. It seems the Sinagua people were daring builders and skilled engineers. Access into the structure was most likely permitted by a series of ladders, which made it difficult for enemy tribes to attack. One of the main reason the Sinagua chose to build the Castle so far above the ground, was to escape the threat of natural disaster from the annual flooding of Beaver Creek. During the summer, monsoon season, the creek frequently breached its banks, inundating the floodplain with water. The Sinagua recognized the importance of these floods to their agriculture, but likely also the potential destruction they presented to any structures built in the floodplain. Their solution was to build a permanent structure in the high cliffs.
Diorama of what the cliff dwelling would look like inside and activities the people would be doing in their daily life.
For more information and history on Montezuma Castle please go to the following link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montezuma_Castle_National_Monument
I then continued on toward Sedona-Red Rock Canyon. What a beautiful drive! I was stunned at the magnificent, beautiful rocks that jut up out of the earth. At every turn and bend in the road was something new and spectacular. I just couldn’t get enough of it. The town of Sedona sits right smack in the middle of this magnificent scenery. I did not stop in the town of Sedona as I just did not see any place that I could park a 34 ft motorhome.