Montezuma's Castle and Stuff

How to Be the Favorite Aunt

Step one: FaceTime nephews/nieces a minimum of once a week, or up to once a day.

Step two: When you are finally able to visit, be sure to stay for long stretches of time so said nephews/nieces incorporate you into their daily routine.

Step three: Be ridiculous and completely inappropriate, and willing to jump on the trampoline 300 times a day.

Step four: Sneak nephews/nieces soda and sweets.

Step five: Repeat step four as often as possible.

Kirsten is somewhat of a celebrity in this house.  Most likely as Camden grows he will go through phases and stages where he likes a particular aunt/uncle/cousin the most, but right now it's Kirsten all the way.  We loved having her stay with us for almost two weeks.

When Kirsten comes I often find myself pulling my adventure shoes from their cobwebbed home in the back of my closet.  She reminds me that there's so much to see and do right around where you live, no matter where you live!  And she should know… during the school year she lives in the middle of nowhere in a teeny tiny town with no paved roads.  Even in Port Heiden there is adventure to be had.

Our adventure shoes walked the paths that the Sinagua people walked over 600 years ago.  Montezuma's Castle {so terribly named, by the way} was among the first four sites to be declared a National Monument back in 1906.  Thanks Roosevelt.  It was amazing to see, I'm glad it's still there.

Also, self-timer for the win! ^^^

The cliff dwellings weren't all that awe-inspiring to this two-year-old, who couldn't seem to stop sprinting for long enough to notice them.  But we did manage to complete a scavenger hunt and receive a Jr. Ranger certificate and plastic badge.  He wore that little badge the rest of the day and thought he was legit.  The Mickey Mouse ears really add credibility, of course.

Nearby was Montezuma's Well.  This is a desert miracle, right here.  Over one million gallons of fresh water flows continuously into the Well every day, fed by two underground springs.  If I had lived back in the day, I'm pretty sure I would have set up camp here.

I spy cliff dwellings!

Have you ever been to a museum where artifacts are armed with little alarms when someone gets too close?  Yeah, those were invented for me and the crazy people like me.  I have this uncontrollable need to touch history, like it somehow brings be closer to the people from the past who might have brushed against that same spot.  The cool thing about the Well is that there weren't any alarms, and hardly any barriers at all!  Geek out!

More than anything, Camden enjoyed hiking.  Of course the historical significance was lost on him, but he was still having the time of his life scrambling over rocks and throwing leaves and pebbles into the water.  Recently he discovered echoes, and he tests out the acoustics on anything resembling a tunnel or cave.  We saw a few bats hanging back there, but luckily Cam's "hellooooo! Echoooo!" didn't wake them up.

We all agreed that our favorite part of the Well was the trail along the base of the outside of the natural basin.  As you walk down these stone steps and beneath the shade of lush trees, a cool breeze meets you and you suddenly feel like you've walked out of the desert and into a forest.  This is where the water from the Well leaks out through a "swallet" in the limestone.  The water gushes into an irrigation ditch which runs for I don't know how long.  Sections of this ditch date back over 1,000 years, and it's still being used today by many in the population of Rimrock!

The Sinagua people were pretty awesome.

Each time we loaded Camden into the car, he protested.  "Hike!  Hike!"
So we headed on over to V Bar V Ranch to check out some petroglyphs.

There were more than 1,000 petroglyphs spread across these very large cliffs.

The Sinagua even used this cliff face to keep a solar calendar.  A shaft of sunlight and two shadow lines are produced by two boulders wedged in the bluff, which falls upon the cliff face and told the people when to plant, when to harvest, when the monsoons would come, etc.  Smart!

Also, they were a matriarchal society and lineage was derived from the mother.  Smart!

Roy is extra handsome in this picture for some reason ^^^

After a day filled with hiking and exploring, we decided it was time to "re-yax."

We found a little river to cool off in while we picnicked.  We certainly weren't the only ones with that idea, but we had a lot of fun despite the crowds.  There couldn't have been a more perfect way to end the day.

And so I've resolved to keep my adventure shoes in the front of my closet.  


  1. You guys have such fun adventures! I love it!

  2. You guys have such fun adventures! I love it!