towards Sedona

Humphrey’s Peak

Jerome

Verde Canyon Railroad. Clarkdale

Tuzigoot National Monument

Tuzigoot facing north

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Montezuma Well National Monument

Wet Beaver Creek. Montezuma Well National Monument

After visiting these three ancient dwelling sites I feel a much deeper connection with the landscapes, both terrestrial and celestial. When I set up a new camp I try to determine true north and identify prominent features of the horizon. If Polaris is visible at night then I can adjust my intuitive daytime guessing. My morning yoga routine is done facing north. If I am going to be stargazing in my lounge chair I try to have it facing south. Sources of light pollution force me to adapt. From this site even with light glow from Phoenix I was able to see stars down a magnitude of 5.3, the Milky Way, Praesepe, and Coma Berenices. For the first time in many years I have been able to witness the brightening of the variable red star Mira in the constellation Cetus. An added treat is Jupiter and Mars rising before sunrise, followed by a thin crescent moon, and Saturn and Mercury. Very nice.

There is record of human habitation in the Verde Valley for 13,000 years. The so-called Sin Agua people who built these stone dwellings apparently migrated from the south 1500 t0 2000 years ago. They farmed along the rivers growing corn, squash beans, and cotton. They were excellent weavers and pottery makers. They abruptly left the area about 600 years ago for unknown reasons most likely to higher elevations to the northeast. The people who claim to be their descendants say they will some day return.

The People of the Verde Valley now are the Yavapai and the Apache.