Tonto National Monument and Roosevelt Lake

May 28, 2017, Roosevelt, AZ-  The day started with a wait to check out of  Copper Mountain Motel, Superior.  It was uncertain whether Ms. Amy would be up and at ’em, as stuff was going around, and had stopped at her doorstep, yesterday.  Well, she was over it, by 8:15.  I checked out of my superb room, with its reminder of what we are, as a nation.

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Globe, and breakfast, were next.  I spent about an hour with John and the dogs, watching as a hapless, and hopeless, individual ran over John’s flush hose, while trying to park at the RV clean-out station.  Some folks are worse off than I am, it seems.  We found the Copper Hen to be closed, so it was off to Judy’s Cook House, on the west end of town.  A few billowing clouds showed that the Pinal Fire was still a threat to the area, but was yet far from structures.  I heard nothing from the Red Cross, all day, so the fire is apparently being kept away, on this end.  Judy’s gave us a satisfying breakfast, and after solving a few of the world’s, or at least Globe’s, problems, John had to go straight back to customer service, at the Batting Cage, and I was on to Tonto National Monument, and Roosevelt Lake.

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The Batting Cage and RV Park are across the tracks from Globe Station.  Trains aren’t very frequent, these days.

Roosevelt Lake was named for Teddy, who of course had much to do with the reclamation of the West, as well as establishing places like Tonto National Monument.  It is visible from several points along the trail to the Lower Tonto Ruins, as well as offering four different recreation points.  The northernmost of these has a Visitor’s Center, which is closed for the holiday weekend.  The second photo below shows the marina near the Visitor’s Center.

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Now, more about Tonto National Monument.  Here is a glimpse of the Upper Ruins, which are closed until November, due to the heat factor.  It takes 3-4 hours, roundtrip, for the guided tour.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Lower Ruins trail is open year round, so I enjoyed that area, as well as the indoor exhibits.  As I said earlier, views of Roosevelt Lake are plentiful from the trail.  The Huhugam, and the Salado people who replaced them, made good use of the then-free flowing Salt River, whose waters comprise Roosevelt, Apache and Canyon Lakes.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here are some views of Lower Tonto Ruins.  Much of the wooden beams and braces are the original mesquite and ash used by the Salado people, in their construction.

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Caliche, a calcium-based clay, is sticky when wet and hard as concrete, once dry.  It was the prime building material for the Salado people.

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The docent told us that these beams are original Salado work, dating from 1150, or thereabouts!

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Nooks and crannies abound, in the Lower Ruins.

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There certainly seems more room in this complex, than in the Huhugam dwellings at Tuzigoot and Pueblo Grande.

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Below, is a kitchen cave.  Note that mano and metate are both caliche.

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Amaranth was one of the Salado people’s staple foods.  It is the bright red plant shown below, and was also used in dyes.

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Having had a brief, but brisk, hike up to the ruins and back, I headed towards Roosevelt Bridge and Dam, two miles further north. The Dam was dedicated by its namesake, Theodore Roosevelt, in March, 1911.

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The Bridge was completed, and opened, in October, 1990, after eighty years of vehicles being driven atop the dam.  Penny and I did so in 1983, and after we continued on to Apache Junction, via AZ Route 88, she made me promise never to do that again, with her in the car.  You will learn why, in the next post.

 

 

6 thoughts on “Tonto National Monument and Roosevelt Lake

  1. Really great writing, Gary! Lovely pictures. Again, I am living vicariously through your eyes, which is what the best writing should engender.

    • The bridge was built in the 1980’s, right after my last visit to this area. It allows people to not have to drive on top of the dam. The situation is similar to that of Hoover Dam, south of Las Vegas, and in fact, the builders of that bypass used many of the same techniques, in the late 1990’s.

    • The beauty of mud-brick and caliche is that they are marvelously durable. Another friend, who recently traveled in iran, shows some similar examples of durable building materials.

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