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Archive for arizona

A Limestone High-Rise in Arizona

By Linda Tancs

When you think of a high-rise apartment, you’d naturally imagine lots of steel and glass. But in ancient times, they would’ve made do with much less. That’s evident at Montezuma Castle in Camp Verde, Arizona. The third national monument dedicated to preserving Native American culture, the so-called castle is a 20-room, high-rise apartment nestled into a towering limestone cliff. The Sinagua people began construction of the structure around 900 years ago and abandoned it about 600 years ago. It isn’t structurally stable enough to accommodate tourists but you can admire the ingenuity nonetheless.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Passages in Arizona

By Linda Tancs

The Arizona Trail is an 800-mile scenic trail traversing the entire north-south length of the State of Arizona, connecting deserts, mountains, canyons and wilderness. Whether on foot, mountain bike or horseback, that’s a lot of ground to cover, so it’s a good thing the route is divided into passages to help you conquer it in pieces. There are 43 passages, categorized into southern, central and northern sections. You’ll even find volunteer trail stewards should you need assistance. You might be tempted to go during the summer months, but the desert heat is legendary. Likewise, winter months are fraught with heavy snow. The best times to visit are October/November and March/April. A good walk through the entire route will take six to eight weeks.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Rim-Side at the Canyon

By Linda Tancs

A canyon that is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep is what comprises Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park. Don’t be challenged by its immensity; there are ways to take in all that grandeur. One option is the Grand Canyon Greenway Trail, a 13-mile, paved pathway for biking and walking, offering a rim-side view of the canyon and providing access to numerous scenic viewpoints and landmarks in the park. One of those attractions is Grand Canyon Village, a historical landmark boasting sites like Hopi House (built like a Hopi pueblo), the old railroad depot and Buckey O’Neill Cabin, considered the oldest continuously standing structure on the South Rim.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Desert Conservation in the Southwest

By Linda Tancs

The Desert Botanical Garden is a 140 acres-wide botanical garden in Phoenix, Arizona. A pioneer in desert conservation, it’s an indispensable resource in the Southwest for helping individuals learn about Sonoran Desert plants as well as desert plants elsewhere in the world. One of only 24 botanical gardens accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, it boasts over 50,000 plant displays showcased in beautiful outdoor exhibits. The garden includes five unique desert trails as well as temporary exhibits and seasonal events highlighting desert life and its preservation.

Symbol of the American West

By Linda Tancs

The nation’s largest cacti reside in Tucson, Arizona. In particular, that’s the giant saguaro—a large, tree-like columnar cactus that finds protection in Saguaro National Park. A universal symbol of the West, these Sonoran desert sentinels are only found in small portions of the country. The park is uniquely situated around the 500 square miles that make up Tucson. Its two districts—the Tucson Mountain District to the west and the Rincon Mountain District to the east—are separated by the city’s 1 million residents. The western district boasts large stands of saguaro cacti. November through March is the park’s busiest season, when temperatures are cooler and range from the high 50s to the mid-70s.

Petrified in Arizona

By Linda Tancs

Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park is a prime source of—you guessed it—petrified wood. In a process beginning over 200 million years ago, logs washed into an ancient river system and combined with minerals that incorporated themselves into the porous wood, replacing the organic matter. The result is petrified wood found in the park and the surrounding region that is made up of almost solid quartz. The Jasper Forest vista point showcases one of the largest accumulations of petrified wood in the park.

The Spirit of Things in Arizona

By Linda Tancs

The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, has one of the most outstanding collections of American Indian artwork in the country. It was founded in 1929 by Dwight and Maie Heard as a museum to house the family’s private collection of native artwork. Over the years it has become particularly known for its broad collection of about 1,200 katsina dolls donated by the late Senator Barry M. Goldwater and the Fred Harvey Company. In Hopi culture, katsina dolls are the carved representations of the Katsinam, the spirit messengers of the universe. Made from the root of the cottonwood tree, the dolls are distributed to young girls to teach them about their role in the tribal community. This art form enjoys commercial success as well, and the dolls are treasured by collectors worldwide.

The Ancient Heart of Phoenix

By Linda Tancs

Just minutes from downtown Phoenix, Arizona, is a 1,500-year-old archaeological site left by the Hohokam, a prehistoric Indian culture. Today it’s the location of Pueblo Grande Museum. A National Historic Landmark, it’s the largest preserved archaeological site within Phoenix. The museum displays Hohokam artifacts and showcases topics from archaeology, southwest cultures and Arizona history. A fully accessible trail brings history alive through a prehistoric Hohokam archaeological village site with a partially excavated platform mound, ballcourt and replicated prehistoric houses.

A Fisherman’s Paradise

By Linda Tancs

With 34 lakes and reservoirs and more than 680 miles of rivers and streams, the administratively combined Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are a veritable paradise for fishermen. Encompassing two million acres of mountain country, it’s particularly prized for the vistas afforded by the Mogollon Rim extending two hundred miles from Flagstaff into western New Mexico. The Sitgreaves is named for Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, a government topographical engineer who conducted the first scientific expedition across Arizona in the early 1850s. The Apache National Forest is named for the tribes that settled in the area and boasts the White Mountains, where skiing, tubing and sledding reign this time of year.

Arizona’s First All-American Road

By Linda Tancs

Short on miles but long on views.  That’s what you can expect from Arizona’s Red Rock Scenic Byway, winding its way through the iconic red rock region of Sedona as well as the Village of Oak Creek.  The road’s designation as an All-American Road means that it is a destination unto itself.  Just a mere 7.5 miles long, the scenes include the juniper and pine-rich environment of Coconino National Forest, rock formations like Castle Rock, Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte, three golf courses and ample terrain for hikers and mountain bikers.

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