Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tonto, Besh-Ba-Gowah, and Kenish-Ba

 From low desert we head for the Superstition Mountains and a drive that will take us to another cliff dwelling. We camp in an organized campground and remark over the many people who stop to spark conversation. The deep canyon is beautiful - and that beauty amplified by setting sun. We see another quail family. They seem calmly accepting of campers - equipment and people.

In the morning we climb to visit the loweer cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument. The photo doesn't show the climb up the hillside, but though it is a bit steep, it takes a zig-zag often enough, and benches are available to stop to either breathe or admire the view (or both).

These walls remain sturdy.  The view from the cliff is beautiful.  It is easy to imagine people adopting this as home, though at the time before the river was dammed, the vast valley below was likely full of other settlements and cultivation watered by irrigation canals.

The ranger on duty at the top of the hike points out hand prints on the wall where residents may have made repairs.  She points out shells that are an indication of how far distant the trade routes reached.

The view from lower cliff dwelling.
After descending the mountain on the nicely paved pathway, we drive past Roosevelt Dam and on towards Globe and Besh-Ba-Gowan. 

Besh-Ba Gowah is an archeological site more than 200 years old built by Salado culture.  An outstanding feature of the ruins is a large central plaza.  

The name translates from Apache as "a place of metal".  Mining was a big part of the economy in Globe, AZ, and surrounding mountains.

Reconstructed interior

Our overnight camp at the scarcely occupied Jones Wash  (along highway 60) is peaceful - though chilly.  As we're enjoying our morning coffee, Alex describes a pretty and brightly colored little bird.  His description of markings and behavior make it easy to identify even as we're sure that we know it before looking it up in The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America.  Just as we found during last year's travel in the southwest, Sibley's description matches our own observations.  Who's clever?  Oh, yes, it's Sibley.

We drive the Salt River Canyon to see Kenish-Ba Ruins on the Apache reservation. The views of the canyon are stunningly beautiful though the colors are somewhat muted by the overcast sky.  

A permit is required to visit the Kenish-Ba site.  We visit Fort Apache on the reservation to watch the required video - and find it compelling and interesting.  Not a bad requirement.  
It is chilly as we leave the car in the parking area at the end of a two-track road.  Before we walk to the ruins, it begins to snow.  (Disjointed blog-calendar: written in Feb, but not posted until 3 months later.)

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