December 9, 2012
Montezuma’s Castle and Verde Canyon Railway
Today we shunned the classroom and did the road part of Road Scholar. We hopped on our trusty buses and headed to Montezuma’s Castle National Monument which is a well preserved, slightly renovated cliff dwelling from around 1100 AD. Indians lived in these multi-room, multi-storied dwellings to protect themselves from flood and other Indians. What became of them no one knows. I suspect they were either drowned or killed.
We also got a botany lesson along the way. We learned the difference between cacti and succulents. Cacti have needles coming out of a bud and succulents have a needle at the end of their leave. Both will stick you and both were a source of food and had many other uses in the desert. The yucca plant n particular had many uses as rope, sandals, brushes and needles. Now all of these things are provided by the China tribe which lives far, far away.
The Verde Canyon train
After lunch we headed to Clarkdale to board the Verde Canyon railroad. The train is a privately owned train that dates back to the 1940’s. It saw service on the east coast before being refurbished and moved to its present location. It goes between Clarkdale and Perkinsville and then back to Clarkdale. The trip goes through a canyon that is quite pretty in a Southwestern sort of way. There were lots of red rocks and strange rock formations to look at.
After that we returned to our 3 story hotel and had pleasant dinner at the Golden Goose. A good day.