How the Ancient Puebloans Lived Large in the Grand Canyon Even Though Water Was Scarce

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the Grand Canyon

Enjoying September at the Grand Canyon

Stare at this view. With a backpack full of food and a water bottle handy, we had the privilege of doing this for as long as we wanted without worrying about how we would survive. Gazing across the Grand Canyon, we let our minds wander about how it might be to live there.

We wondered how the trees could root around to find enough water to turn even the spiniest needles green. But suppose we had to depend on this view to house, clothe, and shelter us?

That thought made us grateful for the stores and modern conveniences we enjoy today without considering how they got there and continue to exist. Indeed, with the coming of the ubiquitous Amazon online grocery stores, the rumor is that we will soon be able to buy everything we need from Amazon and in some locations enjoy a two-hour delivery time. Humans today may never have to leave their homes to even gather food.

But that was not the case for these ancient desert dwellers.

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Tusayan Museum and Ruin

Visit the Tusayan Museum and Ruin

This easy paved path to the museum and through the Tusayan Village or gathering loop makes a beautiful walk through the park. Yet it was very unlike what the natives must have faced living here day after day.  Merely lining a path with the abundant decorative rock, makes it a thing of beauty. During the days of habitation, though, it is doubtful that so much greenery and stones would be used only to beautify the environment as it is today.

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The Gathering Loop

The Gathering Loop Where the Early Puebloans Shopped

Like the sign says, it’s only a .01 mile loop shopping center. What could you do with a yucca and a pinyon pine? There was not a lot of variety here to provide needed items for food, clothing, and shelter.

The daytime weather in September might not warrant a need for many clothes. The temperatures soared into the high seventies by mid-afternoon. By night they ancient Puebloans might have needed at least a blanket. They might make a basket out of pine needles, but a pine blanket would be somewhat scratchy and not very cozy.

To make baskets out of pine needles requires that you soak them in water overnight first to make them pliable enough to bend, twist, and weave into a basket. We did not see an abundance of water springing out of the ground at this site. So we wondered how they made baskets.

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a daisy inches off the path

Possible Food

Off the trail, a few inches this beautiful daisy grew amid some sparse grasses. Probably you could eat the daisy, but it would not be very filling. You might weave the stems into a basket, but the petals would not last. Maybe the pollen would attract bees, and you could harvest the honey for food. The dead tree might be useful to create some shoes or better yet, digging tools. There might be some tasty bugs living on the decaying wood. The grasses might be soft enough to weave into some light-weight summer clothing or a blanket. Small sizes only!

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Along the Gathering Loop

Caring for Trees

Walking along the path, you see more fallen logs and branches. We learned that they did use wood in their buildings for ladders and frames for the rocks which they piled together to build walls. If they wanted windows, wood frames were essential. One guide told us that in the days of habitation there would not have been this many trees along the path. Shopping would have been more limited than it is today.

Possibly, however, the trees were in better shape because the ancient people harvested from them and cared for them. The oak trees in Central California were undoubtedly more prolific and better cared for during the time with the Yokuts Indians inhabited the rich Southern San Joaquin Valley. Since they harvested the acorns for making flour, the native people took better care of the trees, and no doubt saved some of the acorns to plant more trees.

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the Living Quarters

Ancient Puebloan Housing

Here you can see the foundation of their houses. Possibly in the middle circle, there was a place for a fire. You can imagine how the Puebloans would use every small scrap of wood.

The rectangular shapes of the stones look perfect for stacking. Don’t you wonder how they transported them to their housing sites? Were there plenty of rocks in one area, so they built several homes here, or did they have to scavenge the flatland and carry their stones to the homesites. Possibly the remodeled and added to the rocks that had been built by an earlier inhabitant that had moved on or died out.

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the Living Quarters

Here you see how nicely the stones stacked. They might have held them together with dirt mixed with urine to make the mud. Apparently, that made a durable cement. In the foreground, you see what we would use as ornamental flowers in our yards. I wonder what gems these tiny yellow flowers held for the native desert dwellers.

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rocks and daisy

Appreciating Subsistence

As you can tell, subsistence in this location would be difficult. They might have gathered insects that swarmed out from under the rocks when they dug them out. Flowers and grasses would not have sustained them for very long. Maybe the kids ate rocks like the children in the book Stone Soup or my brother when he was young. More likely they used the rocks to kill or wound larger animals which would have provided more adequate clothing, blankets, and food.

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finishing the Gathering Loop

It did not take long to complete the .01 mile loop. You can imagine that it took several days for park workers to create this beautiful path that only takes visitors minutes to amble around. Yet, as they walked along the way, what thoughts do you think filtered through their minds? No one talked much, so it’s hard to say.

What’s your impression?

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Resort Walk Reveals 15 Top Things to Love

Monday Walks with JoWhich Way Challenge

Resort WalkBefore I tell about this wonderful resort in Sedona, you should know this. Although Diamond Resorts is a timeshare, anyone can book this vacation extravaganza through Expedia or other online booking sites. Sometimes booking a timeshare is less expensive than booking a regular hotel room.

One more important fact. I’m not selling timeshares! We own a Diamond Resorts timeshare but have been many places, and this is one of our favorites.

A Perfect Day for a Walk

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Vince and I ambled out of our spacious suite at Los Abrigados Resort in Sedona for a morning walk around the grounds.

Originally, T.C. and Sedona Schnebly built the first hotel on this site in Sedona in 1901. He and his brother settled here, planted an apple orchard and vegetable garden. The 1986 resort retains the flavor and charm of an earlier time.

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We Found So Many Things to Love

View We left our room in too much of a hurry to take this picture this morning, so this evening I snapped the picture so you could see the red rocks from our patio.

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Sedona’s red rocks vistas enthrall visitors wherever they turn.

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Surrounded in three directions by the red rocks you can’t walk any path without your mouth ajar at the beauty.

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Architecture Structures reflect the beauty of Sedona’s backdrop. Spanish and Pueblo-style buildings and fountains reflect the past, but the although it looks antique, the resort was dedicated in 1986.

resort walkThis was the site of the first hotel, Sedona Post Office, and store. Today Suite 110 is the largest most elegant facility we saw on our resort walk. It would be a perfect place for an executive council meeting for CCSS, but I’m not on that council anymore.

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The first hotel in Sedona built by T.C. and Sedona Schnebly.

On the left side of the building is a shady porch. Even in the summer, I think you would be cool here. The original Schnebly Hotel included 10 rooms, a rock chimney, and a shake roof. Tents and a bunkhouse outside housed some of the guests. The Schneblys sold their bunkhouse hotel, post office, and store in 1908, and it burned down in 1918.resort walk

Another beautiful suite is the Morris House. Of course, since that is my maiden name, I would love to stay there, but it is being remodeled. Phil Morris got the contract to build the new Abrigados Resort that opened in 1986. He has now been in business over 45 years with an unparalleled reputation as a builder.

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The Morris family owned the property that became Los Abrigados from 1916 to 1984.
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Vince leads the way checking out the path around the miniature golf course.

Miniature Golf Course Vince and I haven’t played yet, but we had to check out each of the 18 holes. We heard the gentle waterfall at hole 11. However beautiful it is, par 3 was not a fair number to set for par. Can you see that narrow bridge in the center? Hmmm Trust me, take extra golf balls. There’s real water in the stream underneath it.

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One piece of advice I have for you is not to get discouraged and lose your confidence because of hole 11 like I did the first time I played with my friend Jean.

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Basketball, Tennis & Pickleball Courts For more activity, you can enjoy tennis, basketball, or pickleball. I hate to admit it, but I thought the holes in the shade screens were windows. I wondered why they were so high and so low. Vince explained patiently that they are to keep the cloth in place when it’s windy. DUH!

resort walkPathways Along Oak Creek

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Oak Creek trail oops, wrong way!

We started down one path, but it ran out. Huge rocks line the smooth walking path.

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I don’t know if they brought all these rocks here.

The shallow creek meanders quietly right now, but at some point, the water has eroded the soil around the roots.

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Seating Areas along Oak Creek

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22 acres of Los Abrigados Resort in Sedona, AZ

If you wanted you could play checkers or chess outside. You could choose between walking, chess or checkers, or sitting. Nobody played at 9:00. Usually, the pieces are sitting upright in their assigned spots. Someone enjoyed playing  – until they didn’t, or the wind came up last night.

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Nobody played games at 9:30.

Bocce Ball Court Vince lost to me at this Italian game. We only played once. Hmmm. Maybe it did not challenge him enough.

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Our second game never went anywhere.

Too many options for Vince. He led the way.

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The Labyrinth You start at one end and follow the yellow brick road. Just when you think you’ve reached the Wizard of Oz, the blocks take a sharp turn and turns in the opposite direction.

The Bird Sanctuary The birds were shy this morning. Maybe Vince and I did not emit bird-loving vibes. We saw a crow fly in front of our noses on the road back to the suite. But by then my camera was sheathed in my pocket, and it was time for lunch. So birds, we’ll catch you later.

The Zen Garden Vince and I have too much Type A personality to sit down and zen in the garden.

“We need a rake. I’ll be they have a rake. Next time we’ll get a rake. Jason would spend hours here. Let’s go now.”

And as quickly as we walked in and I sat down to zen, we left.

Spoke N Wheel Restaurant Walking past the Morris House and the tennis courts we stopped to take pictures of the Spoke N Wheel Restaurant.

resort walkThe group of women I went to Sedona with last fall all enjoyed this restaurant. Vince and I booked a reservation for Easter dinner just to make sure.

resort walkLast year Darlene and I decided we did not want to pay the price. Instead, we spent five dollars less apiece and had a lousy meal from the store, most of which we threw away. Vince and I did not make that mistake.

resort walkNew Friends On the way to Schnebly pond from the Office we ran into friends we met at the pool the night before, Dave and Karen. We invited them to join us for brunch. Our one-hour luncheon turned into two and a half hours as we got better acquainted with this couple previously from Pennsylvania, but now from Arizona.

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Heated Pool and Jacuzzi No resort is complete without a pool, so as we headed back over to the place we met our new friends the night before in the jacuzzi.

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Mexican type tiled stairs

Vince stays out of the sun, although he would rather lie next to the pool all day in weather like Sedona this week. He had to be content to look over the pools from the patio above.

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Tomorrow I’ll seek out the spa again. It relaxed me, and you never know what new friend you will meet next.

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Schnebly Pond This pond was harder to find than we expected. Named after Sedona’s first family, it is buried between some of the units. After looking at the map, we figured it out.

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At first, I thought ducks had found a nice shallow pond. Closer inspection taught me otherwise.

resort walkNext to Tlaquepaque Sedona’s Art and Shopping Destination

Though separated by a concrete overflow, Tlaquepaque seems like part of the Abrigados dream resort. Drawn by a beautiful rendition of “Sounds of Silence,” we crossed the pedestrian path to the mall. Michael Kollwitz recorded one of his CDs under the banyan tree in LaHina on Maui.

Vince loves to shop. OK, honestly, I do too on occasion. We had fun strolling through the cobblestone and brick roads ducking in and out of specialty shops.

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Bennali’s clothing store

After living in rodeo country for sixteen years, I found my first cowgirl hat in Arizona at Bennali’s.

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While we picked from passion fruit, blueberry, pomegranate, cranberry, strawberry, apple and many other fruity kinds of vinegar, General Manager, Allison Wilson briefly explained the history of the Voss Fass Company.

Summary

All told, our resort walk lasted about an hour and a half or so trying out some of the fun things to do at Los Abrigados.

All day long, my husband who hates to leave home said, “I love it here.”

What’s not to love? This is a Diamond Resort membership resort, but you do not have to belong to stay here. You can book through Expedia or other online sites. If you come to Sedona, it’s the most beautiful of all the wonderful places we have stayed.

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