The Tonto National Monument, located in Roosevelt, AZ, is about a two and a half hour drive southwest from Prescott. We met the rest of our party, who arrived from Phoenix, at about 9:30 am. The ranger guided tour to the upper dwellings, which is offered November through April, started at 10:00 AM and concluded at about 1:00 PM. Wear sturdy shoes or boots. Bring water, a wide-brimmed hat, a walking stick, and your camera of course...
The pre-history of the American Southwest is fascinating. Where did its people come from? How did they live? How were they affected by their environment? Why did they leave? Where did they go? I've been reading a few books on these and similar questions lately.
- Ancient Peoples of the American Southwest, by Stephen Plog
- Arrowheads and Projectile Points: Identification and Values, by Lar Hothem
- Flintknapping: Making and Understanding Stone Tools, by John C. Whittaker
- Hiking The Southwest's Geology: Four Corners Region, by Ralph Lee Hopkins
- Themes in Southwest Prehistory, edited by George J. Gumerman
- Hiking Ruins Seldom Seen: A Guide To 36 Sites Across The Southwest (Regional Hiking Series), by Dave Wilson
Cactus? The climate was cooler and wetter during the time the cliff dwelling were occupied as many as 300 people and thousands more lived, farmed, and manufactured pottery in the Tonto Basin. Those of you unfamiliar with the topography of the Southwest may be surprised to learn we have to drive an hour or two to see the Saguaro cactus many non-Southwesterners might assume we all have in our backyards.
If you're looking for a substantial and tasty meal after your walk up to and down from these well-preserved upper or lower cliff dwellings, drive south on State Route 188 to Boston's Lake House Grill. Everyone at the table liked what they had. Three of us had the pulled pork sandwich and were delighted.