Tuesday, November 25, 2014
This post makes me wish I had a better camera, so that you could see the details. I left the picture properties larger, in hopes that you will be able to enlarge the pictures to a size to see more. I'm finding by studying pictures I've taken, that I discover things I didn't notice when in the location looking right at them!
We decided we had to take a hike up the mesa to explore a little closer! I was amazed at how easy the walk was, as there seemed to be natural trails that increased in elevation quite gently!
Here is a closer look at the rocks that make up the edging of each level. What do you think? Are they natural, man made, an integration of both? Blows my mind! They are so large you have to wonder how ancient natives would have transported them there. I read about a geological phenomena call cliff and bench topography where through erosion a rock cliff is created and then a flat level called a bench. That could be part of it, but some of these rocks seem to be placed on top the ground and I can't get over the rectangular shape!
They had great views!
This is looking from the top of the mesa down to the road we walked up from and across the road to another mesa. At first it just looks like a bunch of rocks scattered around, but still with most having that strange man made looking rectangular shape. It wasn't until I enlarged this picture and studied the pattern of rocks that I began to see what appears to be rock lined walkways, rectangular foundations, and even a round foundation that may have been a community ceremonial area like we've seen at other native community ruins. I hope the blog will allow you to enlarge the picture enough to study the rock patterns. If not, possibly downloading the picture will make it viewable in a larger size. Keep in mind that some pueblos are huge rectangular structures that are then divided into individual apartments. Roy and I intended to get back out to this location and explore a little closer, but unfortunately didn't. It will definitely be on our list of explorations for when we are back in the Camp Verde area! I have since read that the Verde valley is full of ancient ruins! These ruins are somewhat unsettling in that it feels like discovering something as foreign to us as signs of alien life!
This is the view from another side of the mesa! The large rocks I'm standing on seem to be natural to the cliff and bench topography. Check out the distant mesa with an interesting rock formation on top and the rock lined levels leading to the top!
Check out the details in this picture by enlarging it or downloading it to get more details! The rock lined pathways are amazing and we had to get a closer look! We hiked though this valley and up to the mesa in the picture. We couldn't believe the ease of the walk and on a day that we weren't feeling our most fit!
Oh, I wanted to go further and make it to the top, but the rocks were getting loose, and hiking further around the mesa to get around this barrier was more than we wanted to take on!
Check out this rock formation. It was just below the cliff face. At first glance it just appears to be some rocks that have fallen, but I noticed the triangular opening to be like the entrance into a tent. On the left side of the picture is a flat rock wedged and plastered in some fashion to create what appears to be a small table. I've often felt I have an eye for things that aren't quite in keeping with nature. Upon closer inspection of the triangular opening I noticed that it had been wallowed down quite a ways making for a nice habitat. It did cross my mind that I might meet a cougar, but I didn't see any tracks around. Note the loose dirt at the entrance like any den. In the bottom of the wallow were a couple of thick fairly modern front car side windows. Of course I was repulsed to see this junk in there, but later had to ponder at length why it was there and how it came to be there! This isn't a location where trash would be dumped and it wouldn't have found its way into the little den in such good shape had it been thrown off the top! Did someone live there at one time and utilized the glass in some way? I didn't notice the triangular mudded enclosure on the right side of the picture while I was there as it blended in so naturally. Now that I look at it in the picture I wonder how I could not have noticed it, as it is so obviously rocked and mudded in!!! Wow! What's in there....artifacts...gold dubloons...a body? Our minds were racing from wondering, but this is why there are laws about not removing artifacts and the destruction of ancient ruins. If you look at the curve of the ground under the rocks, it appears that there could be the wallow on the right through the opening and then possibly access to the other side of the center rock. By mudding closed the outside opening on the left, a second room is added to the living space. As to what is inside, I've concluded that given the car windows being present that someone in fairly recent times has used the rock cover as a shelter and would have discovered what is behind the mysterious mudded wall.
Wow! What an adventure!
at 2:26 PM
Saturday, November 22, 2014
For those of you who follow our blog, you may recall that we picked up a little hitchhiker in Texas that we named Gonzo. He is a trap and release cat that showed up at our doorstep extremely ill around September 2013. We took him into our home, worked on restoring his health, and loved him dearly. When we left Texas in September 2014 Gonzo joined us in our r.v. travels. November 20th, 2014 while in Camp Verde, Arizona Gonzo's health took a turn for the worse from which there was no coming back from. Montezuma Veterinary Services diagnosed Gonzo with advanced kidney/liver failure and helped ease his passing. As full time RVers and this being our first encounter with the clinic staff, we can't say enough about the compassionate care they showed towards us and Gonzo.
Here is a look at the love bug that was Gonzo! Given the heartbreak we feel, Roy and I have said that we won't take in another stray, but looking at this video, we know we'd do it all again even knowing how it would all turn out. You'll be in our hearts forever Gonzo!
at 10:24 AM
Friday, November 7, 2014
I was flipping through a brochure about the Camp Verde area when I came across a mention of the historic Camp Verde Salt Mine. It is not a tourist attraction and doesn't even have a sign marking it. It is located about 2 miles west of Camp Verde on Salt Mine Road. To locate it just watch for the salt mounds and a small dirt lot for parking. If you have GPS, here are some coordinates I came across: 34.5833N, 111.8944W. The area appears to be fenced off, but there is a gap left in the fence for people to enter on foot. Along Salt Mine Road there is this large mine area and a smaller mine area. We didn't find the smaller one. On Google's satellite map it appears to be down a dirt road farther back off of the paved Salt Mine Road.
The Camp Verde Salt Mine is one of the oldest known mines in the United States! Anthropologists have determined that the mine has been worked for nearly 2,000 years! The Spanish first recorded its discovery between 1583 and 1598 AD. The establishment of Fort Verde in 1871 brought attention to the salt deposit. Some of the salt was used for human consumption, but the majority was used as stock salt. In the 1920's the Western Chemical Company operated an open pit on the property.
Attempts were made as late as the 1960s to market salt from the Camp Verde mine, but the market demanded 99% purity and the Camp Verde salt deposit is limited to 92% purity. Additionally, much larger deposits in the US and Canada exist and the mine has been dormant ever since.
The underground mine tunnels have been imploded for public safety. You can see remnants of the old wood structures piled up around the site. Even though the mines have been collapsed the crevices that can be seen make it appear best not to be hiking too close to them!
I don't know if the stakes in the ground were supports for an underground mine or possibly an above ground transport system.
This is interesting! If you enlarge this picture you can see where the salt mound in the center of the circular area seems to have been dug from the ground around it. This whole pit seems to have been dug down. Hopefully there was excavating equipment beyond men with shovels! This large pit seems to represent a whole lot of work!
Here are some salt crystals protruding from the ground!
One more look! Roy and I found it interesting that in hiking around for less than an hour we could taste the salt on our lips and feel the sting of of it in on our skin. We both felt the need to get the salt dust rinsed off right away! The funny part of taking a shower was the water softening effect the salt had! It was almost as though our skin and hair had a spa treatment! As anxious as we were to get the salt dust off us after just a short exposure from what blew in the wind, we can't imagine how unpleasant it must have been to work in the mines! The Historic Camp Verde Salt Mine is fascinating and well worth seeking out. If you follow Salt Mine Road to its end you will wind-up in Beasley Flats along the Verde River where you can see numerous ancient cliff dwellings.
at 3:05 PM