Five Lessons to Learn at an Ancient Sinagua Indian Ruins

The Mystery People of Sedona

#adventure #hiking Which Way Challenge  Monday Walks with Jo

Mystery describes the Sinagua Indians.  They lived in the Sedona area for hundreds of years, then in 1420, one hundred years before the white man arrived, they left.

Five thousand of them, gone without a trace.

Some scholars thought they migrated then intermingled with the Hopi Indian.

Nonetheless, they left a rich heritage for you to enjoy when you visit Sedona.

The Most Popular Pink Jeep Tour

You can’t help notice the shiny pink jeeps all over Sedona and the surrounding area.

The company is brilliant. they took one of the men’s favorite sports, bouncing around in the backcountry, and painted it pink. Then they market all the attire and everything else Pink Jeep.

Women love it. Men love that women love it.

This slightly bumpy tour to the Sinagua ruins is a favorite of the Pink Jeep Tour company. It’s an easy drive through West Sedona on AZ Highway 89A, then a short trip on a public unpaved road into the protected ruins.

At the end of the road, we entered a fenced in area, and our tour guide, Chip Roberge, led six of us on an easy path back to the Sinaguan homes dug into the cliff.

A Quick Pit Stop then Off to the Path

“I used to be a banker,” Chip Roberge told us as we started up the path to the Ancient Sinagua ruins just outside of West Sedona, “but I started doing Pink Jeep tours years ago and I’d never go back.”Ancient Sedona Ruins

Lesson One –  Trees

About an hour before sunset on a warm September evening, our party of six entered the ruins through a half-mile long, lightly forested, rocky footpath.

“This wasn’t the land flowing with milk and honey. There is no river near. In the desert, you can spot the water where you see a clump of trees. In fact, this area here would have been bare when the Sinagua Indians lived here. They would have used them all.”

Normally found in only the highest areas of Sedona, this interesting specimen, an Alligator Juniper definitely reminded you of an old alligator. Don’t get too close!

SNAP!

No worries, it was just a branch, but be careful. You might see a rattlesnake.

Lesson Two – Fruits

Chip pointed out several plants along the way. We passed a withering vine. The poisonous effects of the prickly melon fruit on the Sacred Datura could kill a human.  If you were lucky it could put you into a four-day hallucinogenic spell. I saw one of these in the Woodlake Botanical Gardens and dug it out.

Another prickly fruit, the prickly pear, you can pay about $10 for a permit to pick them. Since I’m not fond of pears, I passed. Beware, they will stain your mouth red. To pick them, stick a finger in the center indentation and wiggle it off the cactus. It seems like a lot of work to peel and eat each prickly bite.

Lesson Three Buildings

It didn’t take us long to meander the half mile up to the ruins once we stopped taking pictures of the plants along the way.

In spite of the relative luxuriant of the meadow today, I thought of being exiled here. I wondered if maybe these were the outcasts from the more robust societies along the river banks. Nonetheless, their homes showed creative similarities to Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle.Chip said they used lumber to prop open the rows of windows. It looks like rocks to me.

With the scarcity of water, creating this much mud mortar must have been difficult. They used urine instead of fresh water. Since the last Sinaguans left in the 1400s, you can assume that it worked well. Scholars think that the Hopi Indians might have used these homes. It was unclear to me whether the tribes ever lived together, however.

Here you can see the windows more closely.

Lesson Four – Art

As you look up, high on the side of the hill you could see several markings on the different buildings. This distinctive seal marked their home much like a family crest identified families in Europe.

These pictographs displayed horses and people, but Chip suggested that horses had not come to the area at the time of these paintings. Can you see the ghost on the right side of the next picture? Some people could not spot it at first. Apparently, it is fluorescent and can be seen under a different light.

Lesson Five – The Rock Formations

Rock formations near the Sedona Ancient Ruins include Thunder Mountain and Chimney Rock and Lizard Head Rock.

Here’s the secret.

None of them are mountains. You can’t go to the Sedona Mountains because, according to our guide, they are not mountains, they are sedimentary rocks. Just rocks.

I’d like some of these rocks in my backyard, wouldn’t you?

Almost Sunset on Chimney Rocks.

In the next picture, you see Thunder Mountain (not a mountain) looming to the left of the pink jeep.

The driver took some sunset pictures using our cameras. Even though we were in the jeep with no windows to hold us back from the views, we couldn’t see as well from the right side.

The tour hour had expired but the views were so spectacular that the driver slowed down to allow us to take more pictures. (I’m sure he tells everyone that but we felt special nonetheless.) He did drive fast the rest of the way back.

If you are unable to walk for a mile or stand for 45 minutes to an hour there are three National Parks nearby Sedon you might enjoy more.

  1. Montezuma Castle has an easy walkway, but you don’t get close to the ruins.
  2. Montezuma Well is also on Highway 17. If the Castle is a #1 walk, then the Well is a #2.
  3. Tuzigoot is my favorite. Not only can you walk amid the ruins there is a museum with a Junior Ranger Guidebook that children can complete as they walk the park and the museum.

If you haven’t read your 19 minutes yet today and want to consider a further investigation, here are three references I used to prepare this post.

For Further Reading

https://arizonadailyindependent.com/2015/05/03/sacred-datura-pretty-poisonous-and-hallucinogenic/

https://www.verdevalleyarchaeology.org/EarlyInhabitants

https://www.gatewaytosedona.com/chimney-rock-andante-and-thunder-mountain-trails-easy-to-challenging-sedona-hiking-trail-network

https://www.pinkjeeptourssedona.com/honanki/

How to Transform a Weedy Dam Levee into a Unique Garden Even If You Only Have a Dream

Read the first Woodlake Pride Brochure for the new Woodlake Botanical Gardens. Coming next week, the city shares its plans to clean up the weeds and continue the gardens.

Woodlake Botanical Gardens

The Bravo Lake Dream

I'm going to catch a fish here any minute. Get the barby ready!The inspiration to transform an abandoned railroad right-of-way and a weedy dam levee into a beautiful and unique garden facility began more than twenty years ago.

Olga and Manuel Jimenez organized a company of youth volunteers into a group called Woodlake Pride. The impetus was to create an environment for youth that builds self-esteem, confidence, and respect for others while uplifting community moral.

This was done through gardening and beautification projects in various locations around the city of Woodlake. Most see the Woodlake Botanical Gardens (WBG) as the pinnacle of success of Woodlake Pride. The reality is that Olga and Manuel have been growing the youth of Woodlake for nearly thirty years. One can be assured that the community has benefitted and will continue to benefit from the character and citizenship instilled in the hundreds of youth. These young people and the organizers have unselfishly…

View original post 815 more words

How to Get an Easy 10,000 Steps in Sedona, AZ

Do You Sit Too Much?

#Which Way Challenge #Monday Walks with Jo

It’s not easy to squeeze in 10,000 steps after spending hours getting to your destination?

Here’s one way we solved our sitting dilemma in Sedona.

10,000 steps in SedonaDaily

It might easiest be to get up in the morning and walk in the neighborhood before starting the day. Try a walk down to the nearest shopping center. Grab your cup of coffee and continue back to your hotel.

Sedona 10,000 steps
Castle Rock on the left, Bell Rock in the middle.

Added to a one or two-mile walk at the start of the day, you will get in your anticipated steps even if you sit a bit along the way.

Sedona 10,000 stepsSit Happens

The data is everywhere. The Mayo Clinic states that walking 10,000 steps a day helps you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve your balance and coordination

The Ten Thousand Steps Program was first popularized by Japanese pedometers in the 1960s according to UC Davis Integrative Medicine.

How to Measure Your Steps or Mileage

You may have a Fitbit, but if you don’t, you can buy a simple pedometer. If I remember, I stick my iPhone in my pocket. When I’m photographing and forgot to put my phone back into my pocket, there goes my step count. But I get a good idea of how far I’m going each day.

If you don’t have a device to measure your steps, measure time. Most people can walk one mile in at least twenty minutes. At that rate, one hour will earn you three miles, and you’re three-fifths to your goal. The remaining 40 minutes is easy just walking around from chore to chore.

But the point is to start moving.

Sedona 10,000 stepsHead Out of the Bell Rock Inn Parking Lot

If you’re looking for a great vacation spot where getting in your 10,000 steps is a pleasure, you can’t find a better place than Sedona, AZ. This walk measured about 7,400 steps. I ended the day with nearly 12,000 steps.

Sedona has two main highways, 179 and 89A and a million roundabouts. This trip we stayed at Bell Rock Inn Diamond Resort on Highway 179 across from one of the most beautiful rock legends in Sedona.

“In 2006, The US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration awarded State Route 179 its highest designation within the National Scenic Byways Program: the All American Road designation. … It is a tourist attraction onto itself.” The Premier Gateway

For views, Bell Rock Inn ranks a 5 even though it’s probably the smallest of the four resorts we’ve stayed in Sedona. The neighborhood walk ranks about 5 as well.

Bell Rock Diamond

Just outside the door of our suite the sidewalk that lines the highway spans about 4 feet wide and runs for miles. So this morning I headed up the road. I walked past Famous Pizza. At 7:30 no one but the crow wanted pizza. He did not pose as I approached him to take a portrait shot.

The shopping center next door

Along the way were two more hotels, a Holiday Express and one other as well as a strip mall. I watched early morning tourists pose next to the mural which spans the restaurant. It was about 70 degrees at 7:30 this morning, perfect for a walk.

Sedona 10,000 steps
Castle Rock

As you head north on Highway 179 back towards Sedona, you can see Castle Rock to the left and Bell Rock near the middle. Low maintenance plants and red rocks line the sidewalks adding interest.

Sedona 10,000 steps
Bell Rock predominant in the background

Even though the traffic can be heavy, especially in the spring, the sidewalk provides a beautiful safe place to walk. I took this picture of the Jack’s Canyon sign for our friend Jack, who did not know he had a Canyon named after him.

Highway 179 has scenic turnouts at the rocks so that you can park and walk. Like our son did, you can take a trail almost to the peak of Bell Rock without having to rock climb.

Sedona 10,000 stepsAlong the way, you meet a few passersby. Most of them are doing what you are exercising, not chatting.  Headed away from Sedona, the view is not as spectacular, but there’s more shade. I stayed on the shady side going both directions.

Sedona 10,000 steps
Shops in the Sedona suburb of Oak Creek

I passed at least four strip malls like this one during the 1.5  or 2-mile morning walk. This is the Village of Oak Creek. We ate at Cucina Rustica, a beautiful Italian restaurant behind the white arch on our last night. More sitting and eating, so I was glad for the morning walks.

In the spring there might be two miles of traffic caught up on the 6-mile strip from Highway 17 to Sedona. You may be able to see yourself in this link to the live webcam.

Sedona 10,000 steps
Golf Course next to Bell Rock Inn

Another walking option is to golf and weave your way around among the beautiful shade trees. The beautifully maintained Country Club golf course is open to the public, one block from Bell Rock Inn.

The gardeners don’t appreciate the public walking on the path during golfing hours but you may walk undetected and undisturbed early in the morning and after 5:00 at night.

Sedona 10,000 Steps
Wildflowers

These wildflowers with their bulbs and tiny flowers borrowed my camera/pedometer for a few seconds.  These look like Penstemon, Golden beards. Any flower experts out there to back me up?

Sedona 10,000 steps

These juicy cacti fruits, prickly pears, bloomed ubiquitously in September. You can pay $10 to harvest them. Our Pink Jeep tour guide suggested that nobody would notice if you just picked one. You needed to pick with great care, though. The fruit has to be peeled, and it will stain you bright red.

Sedona 10,000 steps

Heading back to the resort you can see Bell Rock on the left and Courthouse Butte on the right. Courthouse Butte has also been known as Cathedral Rock, which makes it confusing to visitors who hear both names used interchangeably.

These formations are all sedimentary rocks, sandstones, limestones, and shales. Guides don’t recommend them for rock climbing as they are very soft.

Some believe that Bell Rock is a spiritual place with special energy called a vortex. Everyone I’ve known to hike up there, including me, has come back from the hike at a level five – tired to level ten – exhausted and not a number one level – energetic, though.

Sedona 10,000 stepsYou can see that even the small rock formations provide a lot of shade. Building this highway caused some controversy as it tore up some of the beautiful rock formations.

Sedona 10,000 stepsWalking away from the resort seemed like the path would end at any time. Each time I thought I would walk to the end and turn around, the road curved around some vegetation, and disappeared from sight. So like a woman hypnotized, I kept walking and walking. Finally, I accepted that the sidewalk might not go all the way to heaven, but it could easily go on for many miles.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed Scenic AZ Highway 179. It reminds me of the Arizona Highways magazines my grandfather loved in the 1950s and 1960s. There I was, living his dream, walking along one of the most beautiful Arizona Highways.

Call to Action

If this post brightened your day, please leave me a comment either here or on social media. If you want to make my day, reblog or share this on social media. I’d love to return the favor. 🙂 If you have a related post link, feel free to leave it in your comment section.

For more walking and hiking posts, check out #Which Way Challenge #Monday Walks with Jo.

Related Posts

 

 

What is One of the Most Popular Destinations in California?

The Best All Around Destinations Are…

#National Parks #Kings Canyon National Park

Believe it or not, Yosemite is the number one destination, and the Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks together is number six. All are within a 90-minute drive from my house.

The strange thing is that people from nearby seldom enjoy these wonders. I’m sure it’s the same thing where you live. This year two different friends invited me to check out the waterfalls due to the El Nino rains we had this winter.

Monica and I took off to go up there at the end of July to get away from the heat. While it was in the 100s in the valley, it was 75 degrees in the park.

What to Pack for a Mountain Hiking Trip

  • A camera or cell phone and a car charger
  • A warm but light jacket
  • A lunch or at least snacks
  • An extra pair of shoes, shirt & pants
  • Walking sticks

Sequoia – Kings Canyon National Parks

Three parks form the Mountain Loop. However, you can drive from Sequoia to Kings Canyon without coming back down from the mountains. It’s a grueling drive, though.

Kings Canyon National Park is a gentle drive from either Fresno or Visalia east on Highway 180. The hairpin turns and loops that you encounter on the way to both Yosemite and Sequoia don’t slow down your trip to Kings Canyon.

One advantage of going to Kings Canyon National Park is that fewer people go there. I don’t have exact figures for that, though, and people can be hard to estimate. The folks at the Sequoia National Park estimated that more people came over Labor Day when actually there were fewer. If you can’t find a parking place, there are too many people there.

Roaring River Falls

Almost as soon as you enter the park, you reach Roaring Canyon Falls. Step out of the car, take a few steps, and you’re there. At that stop you find benches and tables to sit and picnic.

Staycate in Kings Canyon NP
Overlooking Roaring Falls

The restroom was hideous, but at least there was one. Let’s just say bugs like it. I understand that if you hike off the beaten path, there’s something you can carry that would be infinitely more pleasant than this restroom.

Not your loo with a view. It’s a hole with a bowl – and not one that flushed.

 

 

I got carried away photographing this young woman. First of all, she’s not fat, she’s pregnant. The water runs icy cold and swiftly, and as you know, rocks under water are not just sharp, they’re slippery. She’s wearing a watch, glasses and a dress, none of which go well with falling. Luckily for her, she made it to the other side. But those of us on the safe side of the river held our breath until she made it. I didn’t see her come back.

After we ate a light lunch, Monica and I enjoyed hiking, mostly on the roads. We did have one adventurous loop. I don’t hike fast if I’m holding a camera. I had both my Canon and my iPhone. I liked my iPhone color better, but I still like the clarity of the bigger Canon. Color problems are my bad. A point and shoot camera is always a better judge of both exposure and focus than I am.

 

This was one of my favorite shots.

If you know what it is, then good on ya. But don’t you think it’s pretty?

We drove to the next spot, got out and took a 3-mile trail loop. Monica is friendly, so we started talking to one of the most unwilling rangers I’ve ever met. Even so, Monica dragged about six minutes of interesting facts out of him on the topic of geology.

When we neared the end of our walk, Monica suggested that we tell people to start early and go backward. When you see the end of our walk, maybe you’ll agree.

From our safe perch on the paved pathway, we found plenty of opportunities to capture pictures of the swollen Kings River. The middle and south forks of the 125-mile long Kings River starts somewhere in the Kings Canyon National Park even though this looks much too fast and large to be the headwater.

As you can see, the parks have two seasons, fire and rain. This tree looked sparse, but still viable after the Rough Fire in August 2015. The lightening-started fire burned 151,623 acres of land, making it the largest fire of the year in California, involving up to 3,742 firefighters.[1]

The sun filtered through the trees dazzled the water but left us alone to enjoy the walk in cool comfort.

You can see that the wide path that made walking a breeze. We also saw the devastating results of the fire lying on the ground like charred skeletons.

In the backdrop as we looked away from the river, the granite peaks vied for our attention. I have to admit that the river was noisier, closer and got more of my attention than the rocky backdrop.

Once in a while, a knotty tumor stopped us dead in our tracks to muse about the anomaly. But we walked on, not aware of what we would encounter in just a few minutes.

They didn’t tell us about it, just marched by us stoically by with their leader. No one talked much. Hmmm..

Walking across the bridge did not hold any danger or inkling of what lay ahead.

So we kept going. Monica stopped for a brief respite so I could snap another picture.

Zumwalt Meadow was a bit mushy so I wouldn’t advise walking on it.

I wished the color had been prettier in this picture. I think it could be a post card shot if I’d figured out the better lighting. But that was how it looked.

This was our first hint that the trail was changing. It looked like the end of the trail. Monica is tiny. I wasn’t sure I’d fit through the opening in the rocks.

She bravely led the way. No bears.

 

Eventually, we found the stairway that led to heaven. I thought we might be in the Holy Land at least. The rocks were somewhat uneven. Normally I wouldn’t think twice about that, but as klutzy as I am, I tread carefully over rocks so I don’t twist my ankle and tumble over the edge of the cliff.

At the bottom of the rock ladder, Monica found a shady spot, and then she found something even better.

You’d never expect a beach in the middle of the mountains, but there it was. People swam in it and shade-bathed in the sand. Within seconds both Monica and I had our shoes off. The sand was pebbly, so it didn’t stick too badly when we finally had to pull our feet out of the cool water and stuff them back into our stabilization shoes. 🙂

Within a few minutes, we arrived back where we started. Who should be standing close by, but our less than smiling ranger helper. As we said hello, he ran for his car. And we walked sedately toward ours, ready to call it a day, and head back to the heat.

I hope you enjoyed our staycation at Kings Canyon National Park.

If you are over 62, you can still buy a lifetime pass. The cost is now $80, but if you visit eight parks, it has paid for itself. If you’re in fourth-grade, there is a special pass for you.

For more vacation posts, sign up for the Traveling and Blogging Near and Far Newsletter

What National Parks are near you? Do you have a post you’d like to link in the comment section?

Check out other posts about walks here: Monday Walks with Jo and Cee Neuner’s Which Way Challenge

Related California Vacation Posts