We arrived in the late afternoon, and sat up camp as quickly as possible. That first night we were serenaded by a pack of coyotes whose howls echoed off the canyon walls. It was just so magical, and I couldn't wait to explore the area the next morning. After breakfast I sat out on my first short hike along the road, just to scout out the area. I took a plastic bag and picked up quite a lot of trash. Judging by the amount of trash in the area where we were camping, it must have been a pretty popular place with the locals. While walking along the road I spotted a couple of long-eared jackrabbits crossing the road ahead of me, but they quickly disappeared into the brush.
Over the next several days, I went on several hikes and crisscrossed the flats several times, It was obvious that the area had once been inhabited by Native Americans who built extensive fortifications in the area while trying to survive in such a harsh desert landscape. Had the inhabitants been farming this area 100 of years or even 1000’s of years ago? I truly wish I knew more about the specific history of this area, and I have found almost no info on the internet.
In any case, it appeared to me that some of the rock walls I found were laid out in such a way that it reminded me of terrace farming. Perhaps these wide flat areas were once used to grow corn, squash, and beans, staples of the Native American diet. One thing for sure, the area is rich in plant life - Yucca, Agave, Sotol, Cholla, Prickly Pear and several other plant species that Native Americans would have used to survive. What a truly fascinating landscape, and at the time I didn’t realize that I had just touched the tip of the iceberg……Lots more to follow folks.
Never did figure out if these were pueblo foundations or just part of a complex of terraced gardens for growing vegetables?
I was totally amazed by how extensive the archeological ruins were here.
One of the most wicked plants on earth in my opinion - a Teddy Bear cactus!
Nothing cuddly about this plant!
Cholla Fruit - I have heard they are edible, but need to be boiled before eating because they contain oxalic acid. They can also be dried and stored for later use.