Sunday, November 28, 2010

V Bar V Heritage Site

This is Part 2 of our adventures in Arizona a couple of weeks ago. From Montezuma's Well, we took a short drive down dirt roads to the V Bar V Heritage Site, the largest known petroglyph site in the Verde Valley.

From the visitor center, the site is about a half mile hike through a lush, green landscape--like a high-desert jungle, overgrown with grasses, vines and trees all springing out of brick-red dirt. The entire surrounding area is undisturbed and undeveloped, so all you hear is silence, rustling leaves and the faint sound of running water.

The images were created by the Sinagua people between 900-1300 AD. This large panel has two turtle-like figures towards the top, which are identified as being symbols of the Water Clan--the official sun watchers of the Sinagua. A man named Kenneth Zoll observed the progress of the sun across the petroglyphs over the course of a year, and he makes a convincing argument that the site was used as a solar calendar for agrarian and ceremonial purposes. His book and website are called Sinagua Sunwatchers--learn more about the Sinagua, the V Bar V site and archaeoastronomy by clicking here.

Here's another photo. I'm drawn to the large birdlike figures. Maybe it's the Bird Clan? I don't find a reference to these in Zoll's book, but Bird Clan works for me!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Montezuma's Well

We had an early Thanksgiving get-together last weekend with my parents and brother in Prescott, Arizona. We took an excursion one day out to Cornville, which is in the Verde Valley area between Prescott and Sedona. We ate lunch at the Manzanita Inn, a popular spot with excellent crepes, sandwiches and burgers--worth a stop if you're in the area. Above: Steve, Bill, Mom, and Dad.

After lunch we headed to Montezuma's Well, just a short distance away. It's a gigantic natural cistern that has been there since prehistoric times, filled by over a million gallons of water a day from underground springs. They say it was actually once a cavern and the roof caved in, exposing what you see here. An outlet sends copious amounts of water into Beaver Creek and keeps the water level constant. The cliff dwellings along the top are relics of the Sinagua culture.

These stairs lead down to an Indian cave dwelling. There was also once a thriving pueblo on the rim, see photo below.

The setting is completely unspoiled with sweeping views--it's part of the Montezuma's Castle National Monument but 11 miles away. Next week: Part 2 of our adventure, the V Bar V Petroglyph Site!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Park Therapy

Lately, I've developed a case of project-itis...too many projects! Fortunately an afternoon in Joshua Tree National Park is the cure. Above, Joshua trees across the road from Quail Springs. I love how they look like a plantation, like someone carefully spaced them at equal distances apart--although of course they did it themselves. I took the small photo standing over a baby Joshua tree--it's the top of the tree's single stalk.

Then we headed down Ranger Station Rd. to the Lost Horse Wall area--a popular spot for rock climbers, though we saw only three that day. We walked up a large and spacious wash lined with yellow-blooming shrubs.

This mini-arch provided a nice keyhole view.

Check out the man-made rock wall at the base of the hill. It forms a cache basin that would easily fill up during a rainstorm. Brilliant green grass and weeds grow thick around the inside rim.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shared Visions

After all these years of doing photography and poetry together, Bill and I finally have a book! It's called "Shared Visions," and it features all of the work that we'll be showing at Tecopa Hot Springs Resort in January.

There are three sections in the book: Guardians (Eastern Sierras), Aces & Spades (Salton Sea) and Little Petroglyph Canyon (China Lake).

To make this book, I learned the Blurb bookmaking software. The process was easy, and we're really pleased with the result. The book is full color with the photographs and poems on facing pages. Here are a couple of sample spreads.

You can view more sample pages using the "Check Out My Books" widget on the home page of this blog, and order copies from