Monday, May 26, 2014

Montezumas Well

Our first stop on our way home last week was a portion of the Montezuma's Castle National Monument that we hadn't seen before.  It's not far from Sedona, AZ.  We had visited Montezuma's Castle a number of times but never went further up the highway to the Well.  It's really quite amazing and well worth the stop and the 1/3 mile hike uphill to the well.

The ancient people carved homes and storage chambers in the stone
walls surrounding the well.  Archeologists have repaired, but not
rebuilt, some of the ruins.

This explains the well and how it came to be.  It is over 10,000 years old
and even in times of severe drought the well has never been without a constant
subterranean supply of water.  The actual water is from rain and snow that fell
over 10,000 years ago and worked it's way into channels underground.  There are two vents at the
bottom of the well that keep the well freshened.  

Wherever I went this handsome man was there,
taking pictures and carrying someone's camera
case!  I brought him home with me :)

Montezuma's Well

If you can enlarge this enough to read it, you will note that "Without fish the Well does not have usual lake dynamics.  This unque habitat is home to creatures found nowhere else on the planet, and swimming leeches are major predators. High levels of carbon dioxide make life impossible for fish, amphibians and some aquatic insects  The Well is the world's only home for five species". 

There are the remains of an ancient Pueblo still standing in the area.

And there's that man again, with the cliff dwellings in the background.

He likes to take pictures of me...and trees.

These steps cut into the rock lead from the top of
the cliff down to the bottom and the water.
 This site is truly like no other.  It's beautiful and peaceful, yet teeming with scientific wonder and mystery as well as the spirits of the ancients who built their homes above this natural wonder.  A must-see if you're ever in Arizona.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Discovering Butte Montana

Now that Lloyd has retired we find we're not spendng as much time at home as we thought we would.  This month has seen us on the road between Edmonton and Lethbridge and on down to Arizona several times.  As fun as it is, it keeps me from my computer and makes it more difficult to post blog entries regularly, but when I can, I do.  And here I am. We're home for a few days before heading across the mountains to visit our daughter Mary and her family in the Okanaghan.

As many times as Lloyd and I have driven through Montana on our way to Arizona, we've never stopped in Butte.  Earlier this week we corrected that error and ended up overnighting there, stretching our two day drive to three, but it was well worth taking the extra time to explore in this old (by North American standards) city that got its start as a mining town.

I won't go into the history of this fascinating place except to say that it is famous for its copper, silver and gold mines.  For thirty years early in the 20th century Butte Montana was recognized as the richest place on earth.  It was also famous for its labor unions and labor activities.  When underground mining ceased, Butte slowly diminished in size and population.  The final mine closed as recently as 1981.  The original mining city "Historic Uptown Butte" is still pretty much intact, set on a hill built around the mines.  The main part of todays city is on the lower flatlands and is a nice little city.

Lloyd and I arrived there around 5 in the afternoon when the light was beautiful for taking pictures.  We went around taking hundreds of pictures of the old buildings and mines and stopped only when it became too dark. Then we were up early the next day and spent the morning exploring and taking more pictures.  I'm only going to post a few here.  I hope you share our enthusiasm for old places and buildings.

Looking south down from Uptown Butte - the main city is now seen in the valley below.

A leprachaun perches atop Maloney's Bar.  During its heyday,
Butte had the largest percentage of Irish citizens of anyplace in the US.

One of the churches.  After a devastating fire early in
the town's history, a law was passed that all buildings had
to be built of brick or stone.

I love the intresting corner treatment on the upper floors of this
building.  I wonder what it looks like inside.

Nice to know that the hotel you're staying in is fire proof.  There were
lots of signs painted onto the brick buildings.

A plaque on one of the many union halls

The County Court House.

While restoration of the old city is ongoing, some of the
buildings are boarded up, awaiting their turn for beautification.

Some houses are just awaiting demolition.

The Steward mine at the top of the hill.  It was interesting to see the houses
were built up to the foot of the if the miners didn't want to be
too far from work.

I love these two 'sisters'...the only houses on this short block,
built on a hill right across the street from "The Con" in
the picture above.. They are both currently occupied.

The Con

One of several churches in Uptown Butte

This old school is now the community dog park.

This street has a beautiful big houses on it...definitely the rich
part of Uptown, probably built by the mine owners, managers.

This one is on the corner of the street above and is the
Copper King's Mansion. It is now a Bed and Breakfast.

I love the turret style of this one.  Wish I could
see inside it. Too bad these houses don't offer guided tours.

At the top of this hill and over the crest, those three brick buildings and more are part of Montana
Technical College of the University of Montana.  Its specialty is
mining, geology and engineering.  What a great place for students of
those courses.

That's just a few of the many pictures we took in Butte.  It is really a fascinating city.