Tag: caves

Colossal Cave Mountain Park

Now that racing season is over, we have to find other things to do on Sundays! So yesterday we spent some time at the Colossal Cave Mountain Park, located east of Tucson. It was a lovely day, with brilliant blue skies and moderate temperatures (only low 80s in the mid-afternoon).

Colossal Cave Mountain Park includes Colossal Cave, numerous picnicking and camping areas, and a working cattle ranch. At the ranch, you can hire horses for trail rides or you can bring your own horses.

The CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) spent several years during the 1930s developing the cave area so it could be used as a tourist attraction, including building several buildings around it for headquarters and gift shops. At the ranch area, there is a museum dedicated to chronicling the work that the CCC accomplished at the cave.

We had decided before we even left that house that we would not be touring the cave, preferring to save that for a hot summer’s day. Instead, we wanted to do a little hiking, but not a lot of hiking and not very adventurous hiking. We picked a good place, as there is really only one trail designated for hikers and not horses, although we saw plenty of evidence that horses can’t read the signs!

A windmill at the ranch area.

One of the many saguaro cacti.

There were a couple of washes that ran through the park and along those are riparian areas that attract birds and other animals and also provide enough water for real trees to grow!

More saguaro cacti.

The view from the cave parking lot looking towards Tucson in the west.

Colossal Cave Entrance.

An ocotillo cactus reaching for the sky!

The cave entrance, headquarters and gift shop area.

It was a pleasant day and we enjoyed getting out and seeing something new. We will likely travel back that way again to tour the cave, but I doubt we’ll spend much time at the rest of Park, as it turned out to really not be our thing. Too much dust, too many cacti and too many horses!

Verde River Valley – Ancient Indian Homes – 365 – 106

Verde Canyon Railroad Excursion Part Two

There were several ancient Indian ruins pointed out to us along our train trip down the Verde Canyon. The first were early in our trip and I did not get a good picture of those. They were difficult to see because they were newer and built along the canyon ledges and did not stand the test of passing time very well. But deeper into the valley were some caves that ancient peoples had dug out and used for homes.

ancient Indian home

You can see the entrance to one cave about mid-way up the red rock, close to where the nearer rock formation curves against the red rock.

Here’s a zoomed view:

ancient Indian home

The narration on the train told that this cave was dug out from the inside so that it was three stories high. And the people using the cave for their home then dug out smoke holes much farther down the rock so that there would be no smoke coming out of their entrance, thus making it a much safer home.

smoke holes

It’s hard to see the smoke vent holes in this picture, but there are two there, up high in the rock.

The second ancient Indian home pointed out was closer to the end of the valley and much lower in the rocks than the first cave.

ancient Indian home

Isn’t this a pretty valley in which to live? You can see the cave openings on the left side of the rocks.

ancient Indian home

And a close up view. It is just below these rocks that the canyon opens up into Perkinsville valley. I suspect because the valley is wider here, there was less danger of flooding so they could live lower in the rocks, closer to the river. Or maybe they just used it for a summer home. What do you think?