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!