Caroline is the perfect age for petroglyphs - short little hike to see the wall.
Not too crowded. Gift shop has very good book selection. I picked up a book on Desert Holes and another on animal tracks/scat.
Decided to get out of the house and go to some "drive-by" sites I was interested in.
Started at Sacred Mountain: bushwacked around a bit hoping to find something unusual at this picked-over place. I did find a few largish sherds at the bottom of the hill but the attraction (such as it is) is the big hilltop ruin. Mainly collapsed - the one impressive wall looked like it might have been re-stacked.
Apparently the residents of Sacred Mountain made the nice petroglyphs at the nearby V-Bar-V site. This is a managed park and visitors are restricted to the main decorated cliff. The docent was quite knowledgeable and I was lucky enough to see the solar calendar in action.
Finally I wanted to find the Wingfield Mesa Ruin which I had read interesting things about (http://verdenews.com/main.asp?SectionID ... leID=46766). The mesa is just a couple miles SE of Camp Verde. Unfortunately there is a Jeep/ATV road that goes to the mesa top and broken beer bottle pieces probably outnumber pottery sherds. Still it's a unique place with ca. 40 attached rooms arranged in a big square - makes an impressive satellite view. The central square is ~50 yds across.
Not a bad way to spend a hot day. Time and distance are estimates.
Stop three on my day trip to the Verde Valley to explore ancient Native American culture. This place is an awesome example of Sinaguan rock art. The forest service worker, who spoke in a smooth Sam Elliott voice, said there were over 1000 documented glyphs here. This includes lots of zoomorphic shapes like cranes, tortoises and bighorn sheep, each with their own story. The petroglyphs date back almost 1000 years and have been so well-preserved because this was private property up until 1994. Apparently, very few people knew of its existence before that. I'm glad the word is finally out.
Up next: Montezuma Well.
"I've driven across deserts, driven by the irony, that only being shackled to the road could ever I be free"
- Frank Turner "The Road"
Lots and lots of coolness on this hike + the quick stop at Beaver Creek on the way back (where, unfortunately, a million other people and their screaming children decided to play just when we got there). The petroglyphs are too cool and the old ranch grounds are pretty neat, especially the persimmon and pomegranate trees. Unfortunately the persimmons weren't ripe yet and all the pomegranates had already been burst open by birds! Dogs had to stay in the cars for this one, but the weather was cool enough that it was no big deal. I can't believe how close to the freeway this is and how fast the hike is too! Definitely a lot of bang for your buck here.
My dad and I have been all over Arizona, but neither of us had heard of this site, and we are glad I found it here on HikeArizona!
The hike is short, but the payoff is quite nice. There is a visitor's center where you must sign in, and there was a woman at the site explaining what she knew about the petroglyphs. The panels are impressive, well worth the time spent.
I think the site is only open Friday through Monday.
Another back-up plan escaping the rain. Part of Verde Valley "hat-trick" taking in the V-Bar-V Petroglyph Site, Montezuma Well, and Montezuma Castle. Only needed to add Tuzigoot National Monument to have the "four-play"!
Visited the V-V petroglyphs, slight overcast prevented me from taking photograhs. The panels are also best viewed in the late afternoon when the petroglyphs would recieve direct sunlight.
average hiking speed 1.42 mph
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.