I am still working to get caught up on my trip to Arizona, but I will get it done (I promise!). On August 30 I went to Lake O’Hara, so stayed tuned for that blog post.
I found out about Walnut Canyon while searching for more places in Arizona that were like Montezuma Castle and I think I found a winner!
Right after the Meteor Crater we drove over to Walnut Canyon. It started pouring right when we go there, so we hung out in the car for a bit waiting for it to die down. Once it had died down we went into the information center. We knew that there were two trails to choose from when we got there. There was an easier trail where you don’t really climb any stairs or go down into the canyon, so you mainly get a bird’s eye view. Obviously, we wanted to get as close as possible to as many of the ancient dwellings, so we chose the more difficult of the two.
Before you start going down the stairs there are a bunch of warnings about how many stairs there are and if you go down you also must come back up. That was slightly daunting, but I knew that we could go slow and it would be worth it.
History of Walnut Canyon
Who were they?
(source: Image of sign # 1 and #3)
“Walnut Canyon’s farming community flourished between roughly 1125 and 1250. By this time people across the Southwest were united by corn cultivation and village life. But their architecture, pottery, and tools differed across space and time”.
“Archeologists used these differing traits, which occurred in patterns on the landscape, to describe and label cultural traditions such as Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) and Sinagua”.
“Walnut Canyon, with its compact villages of adjoining, rectangular room blocks (calledpueblos by the Spanish) and plain brown pottery, lies within the heart of the Sinaguatradition”.
“Before Euro-American settlement, the landscape of the San Francisco Peaks, which includes Walnut Canyon, was an area used by all of the region’s tribal groups (Hopi, Zuni, Navajo, Yavapi, Havasupai, Hualapai, Western Apache, and Southern Paiute)”.
Why This Location?
(source: Image of sign # 2 and # 3)
One reason was that “people were looking for new places to live and farm”. Another reason was, “some tribal consultants believe people built here for refuge and protection, or for isolation and ceremonial preparation”.
As well, there was an abundance of wild life and plants as well there used to be a stream that flowed through the canyon occasionally. All of these reasons may have attracted different people to this area.
Why Was it Abandoned?
(source: image of sign # 4)
“Despite all it had to offer, in time Walnut Canyon became a difficult place for farmers to live. Drier, colder conditions meant crop failures. More people and diminished resources meant nutritional stress, disease, and conflict”.
“However, these stressful times brought new means of coping. By 1250, people joined others in bigger villages to the south and east where archeological evidence suggests new beliefs and rituals arose”.
Going down the stairs was not too bad, there was a few places I felt like I had a bit of vertigo but other than that it was fabulous. Going up the stairs was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, but we did rush a bit since it started raining again…. ha-ha.
I would recommend going on a cooler day so that you don’t get so hot that you cannot enjoy the sights. The trail we ended up choosing had over 200 stairs (one-way), so make sure to come prepared with comfy shoes, water, and of course your camera.
Overall, I was very much impressed with getting to see and get so close to all of the structures. I would definitely recommend visiting Walnut Canyon if you have an interest in history and/or abandoned places.
HERE ARE MY SOURCES:
Thanks for reading my blog!
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