Back in the 1300 A.D. the Ancient People built a shallow cliff dwelling up on Eagle Ridge and were mostly farmers. They ate off their crops of corn and beans and grew cotton too. About the year 600 people left this community, with no evidence of human activity in Tonto Basin for 150 years. Speculation to their whereabouts thinks they went into Chaco Canyon and merged with the Anasazi people. About 800 another people came into the basin and set up pit houses and farmed the land. At this time Salado polychrome pottery appears in the archeological record. Deriving its name from the Rio Salado (Salt River) that flows through the basin, this pottery style reflects the changing times. Migrations continued, and populations grew. By 1275 thousands of people lived in Tonto Basin. Archeologists refer to this mixed-cultural phenomenon as Salado.
The National Parks Service has set up a monument in the Roosevelt area to preserve the ruins and also give us a chance to view them. There is a very nice visitors center just below the ruins with history of the area and artifacts found in the cliff dwellings and in the valley below. However, the hike up to the ruins, which isn’t very long, is very steep. We were treated to vegetation on the hillside with name plates so we could learn what is growing in the area. Mature and old Saguaros were everywhere.
Each time I see these dwellings, they bring a sense of “those who walked before” us and how they survived or didn’t everyday living.
Before our trek up to see the cliff dwellings, we stopped for a few geocaches.
The graves in this cemetery are people who died while the dam was being built from 1904 -1909.
We found several caches and had a lot of fun finding new places to explore.
On to Safford on Valentine’s Day! Life is soooo good! God is awesome.