Arizona: Montezuma’s Castle

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A must see attraction in Northern Arizona,  Montezuma’s Castle is located just off exit 187 on Interstate 17. Located near the tiny town of Rim Rock , the town featured in many of the John Wayne movies, Montezuma’s Castle was mistakenly named after the Aztec Indian Chief whom the Spaniards thought had traveled this far north.


A short two-hour drive north of Phoenix and only about a half an hour from beautiful, picturesque Sedona, it visiting it is an excellent way to spend an afternoon. If you have the time, spend the whole day in this beautiful and historic part of northern Arizona by combining it with such local attractions as Tuzigoot, an ancient Anasazi hilltop settlement near Cottonwood, Jerome, the old mining town located on the side of Cleopatra Mountain, and Montezuma’s Well which is also  located near Montezuma’s Castle.

 Built by the Sinagua Indians, it is constructed near the top of a tall Verde Valley  limestone cliff, located near a small river, it provided the needed shelter, food and water for the group of natives who occupied it
for several hundred years.


Due to the extreme danger involved in constructing a dwelling of this nature, it demonstrates the Sinagua to be a very daring and able bodied people. The five-story structure contains 20 rooms and was home to about 50 people, there is much evidence that at one time it was a much larger structure.

Built as it is , it was very difficult for invading tribes to penetrate the natural defenses of this structure. The Sinagua occupied this area
from about 1125 A.D. until about 1425 when for unknown reasons they mysteriously disappeared.

It is unknown why they left, but war with the arriving Yavapai tribe, drought , or depletion of the soil due to improper fertilization have
all been suggested as causes for their departure. Many artifacts have been discovered which gives us insight to their way of life and
indicates they were fine artisans and craftsmen.

Having been designated by President Theodore Roosevelt as a National Historical site in 1906, Montezuma’s Castle  became one of the first such designations in the United States. The adjoining museum provides  much information about the life and times of the Signaua to the nearly half million people who come from around the world to learn more of the American Indians and their ways each year.

Due to the many attractions in this area, such as the Verde Valley Railroad, Blazing M Ranch , the many golf courses, and the  proximity of the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff, it’s not hard to spend an entire week in this part of the mystical desert southwest.

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Gary has been a writer/ photographer for over 20 years, specializing in nature, landscapes and studying native cultures.Besides visiting most of the United States, he has traveled to such places as Egypt, the Canary Islands, much of the Caribbean. He has studied  the Mayan Cultures in Central America, and the Australian Aboriginal way of life.Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in many different parts of the world!

He has published several books about the various cultures he has observed.

For more information and a link to his hard cover and Ebooks, and contact information: please check his website.www.commonsensejourneys.com

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Enlightenment

At this period of time in the history of man, there is probably more individual searching being done into the theories behind the origin of the human race,what happens after death,the possibility of life on other planets, and what our relationship is to these life forms, if they do exist. There are millions of people who are questioning the existence of God, who he really is, and what is my relationship with him? Is he someone who mysteriously floats around on a cloud watching and judging us from above like some bigger than life Santa Claus, or is he, like many of the esoteric sciences claim, a part of our inner Self, whom we have constant contact with, someone whom we and everything in the universe are connected and are thus one? Each of us in our own way is experiencing what God is, and thus we are each a part of God, thus we are God! This book is a brief account of my search for my own truth.

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Poker, an American Institution!

Today Poker is enjoying a tremendous rebirth in not only the United States, but the world as well! With high stakes games on television and tournaments on line.
 
If we had been alive during the early days of our country it would have been hard to imagine how the game would evolve in 200 years!

Poker has been in America as long as there has been an America. Believed to be a very old card game, with roots stemming from the 16th century, it made it’s way in to the United States and became very popular, especially in the “Wild West”.

The first western saloons were hastily thrown together lean-to’s or tents, as the towns grew, the saloon would prosper and take on the traditional trimmings of the Old West, where a cowboy could strike up a deal, the traveler might quench his thirst, or a miner might try for a little while to forget about his life in the mines.

The whiskey served in those hard days was a far cry from what we have today, it would normally be brewed from raw alcohol, burnt sugar, and chewing tobacco, with such names as Forty-Rod, Red Eye, and Coffin Varnish! Sometimes the barkeep would add such delicacies as turpentine, ammonia, cayenne and gun powder to make the concoction more tasty! No wonder Sarsaparilla became popular!

Along with all this, a good game of poker was a necessity, many stories and legends evolved from this period, adding to the mystic of the period.

Since spas and hot tubs hadn’t been invented yet,  gambling became a popular way to spend the time while traveling by riverboat from port to port

Legend has it that it was during these riverboat gambling heydays that an interesting story occurred in 1832. On a Mississippi steamboat four men were playing poker, three of which were professional gamblers, and the fourth, a hapless traveler from Natchez. Soon, the young naive man had lost all his money to the rigged game.
 Devastated, the Natchez man planned to throw himself into the river; however, an observer prevented him from his  suicide attempt, he  joined the card game with the “sharps.” In the middle of a high stakes hand, the stranger caught one of the card sharks cheating and pulled a knife on the gambler, yelling, “Show your hand! If it contains more than five cards I shall kill you!” When he twisted the cheater’s wrist, six cards fell to the table. Immediately, the stranger took the $70,000 pot, returning $50,000 to the Natchez man and keeping $20,000 for his trouble.
Shocked, the Natchez man stuttered, “Who the devil are you, anyway?” to which the stranger responded, “I am James Bowie.”

Such was the life and times of our early west!

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