Besh Ba Gowah, Globe, Arizona



While we were at Tonto, we were chatting with another couple, and they mentioned the Besh Ba Gowah ruins in Globe.     They’re a bit off the main route, so we had never seen any signs, but they’re worth seeking out if you’re in the area.

The site is run by the city, and they have a tiny museum.  You can watch an orientation video (worth it), and they have a room filled with finds from the ruins.    There’s a great collection of pottery, in really good shape – it’s definitely worth checking out.

These ruins are also Salado, but are larger than Tonto, probably housing a couple hundred people.   Sadly, they were excavated before WWII, and were abruptly abandoned due to the war, so there has been some decay of the walls.     They have rebuilt a few things to give you an idea of the scale.   (And how dark it was inside those dwellings – I had really no idea.)

This is definitely a neat little place – I highly recommend it to anyone that makes it out to Globe.

Roosevelt Lake and Dam, Roosevelt, Arizona




To get to Tonto, you take Route 60 from Phoenix, up to Globe.     That drive takes you over the Gonzalez pass.    We’d done this trip before, but from the opposite direction, and it was at night, so we’d missed the scenery.    The mountains are strikingly beautiful, but what’s even more striking is when you get closer to Globe, and see the mines carved into the sides of the mountains there.     I’m not sure how I actually feel about strip mining, but the results are certainly striking.

Once you turn off onto State Route 188, the Salt River Valley opens up in front of you.      No camera will ever be able to do justice to that sight, but I’ve included a couple of pictures above as a reminder.    There are certain things you just have to store in your memory banks, and the Roosevelt Lake is one of them.     It’s such an amazing landscape.

Tonto National Monument, Roosevelt, Arizona












The last time we were in Arizona, at the end of our rather epic journey along the Apache Trail, we passed the entrance to the Tonto National Monument.     It was closed at the time, so while it mentioned cliff dwellings, we had to look it up later to see what it involved.

Turns out, there are two sets of dwellings, the Upper Dwellings, which are visible from the road if you’re taking 188 in from Globe (we were going the opposite direction in our initial trip) – which you can see in the second two pictures above.    They’re also harder to get to, so you have to book a guided trip to get there.    It’s enough of a hike that we decided against that for this go.

The Lower Dwellings are accessible from the visitor’s center.    It’s a nicely paved path, with a bit of an incline, but not really a bad hike at all.     We actually arrived at the same time as two classes of fourth graders, so I figure if they can do it without complaint, it can’t be that bad.

The views from this place are spectacular.    It looks out over Roosevelt Lake, which at the time it was built would have been the Salt River valley (it was built in the 13th century).     The people that built it are named for that river (the Salado – our name for them, as they were gone by the time Europeans arrived in the area).     Apparently, around 40 people lived in this set of dwellings, which I admit is hard to wrap your head around when you think about the size of our modern houses.

One really neat thing – you can still see the hand prints of the people that plastered the walls (the last picture) – I’ll admit that was probably my favorite thing to see there.

Chihuly in the Garden















The other cool thing about visiting the Desert Botanical Garden is that it turns out they were having a Chihuly glass exhibit.

One of the things I really like about the garden is how structural the cactus are, so having the glass in amongst them was a really interesting contrast.     We never did make it back after dark to see them lit up, but they were still pretty cool during the day.

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona








So it wouldn’t be a trip to the Phoenix area for us if we didn’t stop by the Desert Botanical Garden.   And can I just say how nice it was to see some green?

One thing we did differently this time was check out the succulent collection.    I don’t know how we’ve managed not to make it over there before.     The really great thing is that the aloe were blooming while we were there.    I love blooming aloe.     We can keep them as house plants up here, but they never bloom.     And they just have the coolest flowers.    So I was very glad to have caught that.

Winter Vacation

I’m back from Arizona.    It’s snowing right now, and I’m finding it hard to believe that just yesterday, I was looking at cactus.

I have about 500 pictures to go through, and five books read, so those will be coming out over the next several days.    In the meantime, a few non-pictorial highlights:

Short Leash Hot Dogs – We ended up here for dinner our first night in town.     I had a hot dog that involved mango chutney, and was so good!     They had a curry and hot dog dish that went out to the table next to us that smelled divine.

The Heard Museum – Any one interested in Native American art, especially from the Southwest, needs to visit this museum.   The Hopi Katsina collection alone is worth it, but there’s tons more to see.      They had a exhibition about various New World foods that have now made it around the world that was really interesting.     Their museum shop was also a lot of fun to wander through.

Umami – In other food that we don’t seem to have around here, we hit a ramen place our last full day in town.   (In fairness, there is a ramen place in Portland, but it’s in a hard to park area, and it has mixed reviews, so we haven’t been there yet.)    I love having an excuse to try new things.    (We also hit a Sonic on the day we were out and about near Globe, but even though we don’t have those around here, it’s not like they’re fundamentally all that different than the fast food we do have, though the roller skating servers are fun.)

Watching the Super Bowl outside – I really could care less about football, but let’s face it, the Super Bowl is not an outdoor event in these parts.      So being able to go to a party that was outside was definitely a novel experience.

Other than that, we either relaxed, or there are pictures forth coming.

The Rest of Arizona

I’m very behind recapping the rest of the trip to AZ, so here’s the rest, in short order:

That Monday, we headed down toward Tuscon, and checked out Biosphere 2. It’s an incredibly interesting place to visit, and I have tons of pictures, but it really is one of those places that you’re better of seeing for yourself, so no album for those.

To round out that day, we went to the Colossal Cave Mountain Park. The cave tour was a ton of fun – our guide had a lot of fun facts, and clearly enjoyed his job. This is not a tour for a claustrophobe, but I enjoyed it.

On our way back from out unexpected trip through Globe, we had noticed signs for the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, so for our last full day in Arizona, we headed there. It’s a little way out of the valley, but very much worth the trip.

They feature a number of plants from different desert landscapes, so you see some South American plants, and as well as a fun section for Australia, complete with an Outback shack.

Quite a bit of it is well set out pathways, but there are some slightly wilder sections. We did a walk that descends into a canyon, where you find cottonwood forest. We’ll be back some day to do the high path that goes further up the canyon walls. I suspect the views are amazing.

The album for the Arboretum is here. I’ve included a number of flowers (their aloe were blooming). as well as some other interesting plants and sights I ran into along our walk.

All and all, it was a great trip. It was lovely to get a taste of warm weather, though I will admit, I was actually a little happy to step back into humidity when we got home.