|A view of the upper ruins of the cliff dwellers from the trail below|
|AZ Mistletoe - apparently the berries are edible|
Many of our stops while in Canada included National Historic sites so it is only fitting that we should close off with a USA National Monument (the USA equivalent to our Ntl. Historic Sites) - namely the Tonto National Monument - the Cliff Dwellers dating back to 1250 - 1400 AD. The Salado Indians - a blend of other Southwest migratory natives at that time - inhabited this area at that time.
This was a reserved hike, and we had to be accompanied by a park guide. Our guide gave us an excellent overview of how the 'people' utilized resources - plants and cactus in the area for their survival. Only 15 people are allowed on each hike up to the upper cliff dwellings - a 600 foot climb through a riparian area then a dessert area of many switch backs. Killer bees were in the area but our guide assured us they were just the worker bee variety (non aggressive)- and that they were loading up on water for their hives. This was a huge leap of faith for Sandra who has had a bee phobia from early childhood. Well our guide was right - we strolled through the stream bed and ignored the bees and they ignored us! Whew!
|The beginning of our hiking trail in the riparian area|
|Vines in the riparian area|
|Sycamore trees in the riparian area. Apparently the bark of these trees turns an awesome shade of green wen it rains|
|The Upper Ruins - almost there!|
|Looking out from within the ruins - multiple rooms.|
|A cistern in one of the rooms that apparently held ~ 100 gallons of water|
|Food grinding tools - a metate (bowl) and mano (oval rocks)|
|One of the rooms in the ruins - structures up to 700 years 0ld. The floor could very likely be a ceiling to a room below.|
|Roofing structure inside one of the rooms - note the saguaro ribs for strength|
|Outside view of the ruins|
|Starting our hike down!|