Walnut Canyon National Monument


Walnut Canyon National Monument

The Dog Lady Goes on a Field Trip Series

While staying in Flagstaff, my friend and I had a couple days to kill before we set out on our Havasu Falls adventure trek with Wildland Trekking.  One of my recent acquired souvenirs was my National Parks Passport.  If you have not heard of this program, it's pretty awesome.  Any National Park, Monument, or other nationally designated area has a free passport stamp area where you can check off your passport book.  You can also buy unique stickers to collect at each destination as well.  If you want to read more on the program check it out here.

national monumentThe anthropologist in me screamed yes when I saw that Walnut Canyon National Monument was a short drive away from Flagstaff.  Walnut Canyon is a bastion of Pre-Columbian cliff dwelling locations, originally preserved in 1915 when Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the are a national monument.  The people who dwelt there, called Sinagua (by the Spanish) and Wupatupqa (Hopi) were thought to have a trade network stretching throughout the Southwest and into Central America.  They are thought to be the predecessors of the Hopi. They occupied the cliff dwellings at Walnut Canyon between 1125 CE to 1250 CE when they migrated away for unknown reasons.

As you climb down and around the Island trail you can imagine the intricate lifestyle these people maintained.  They brought water up from the canyon floor and grew agricultural crops along the canyon rim.  Some of the dwellings you can enter and others you cannot.  The information stations throughout the walk help you to imagine what life must have been like for these people all those years ago.  I like to take it all in, pretending to be taken back in time when these were homes for hardworking people.  The thought that really stuck with me was the saying "migration is not abandonment."  This appears several times throughout the information stations. It leaves one with a sense of awe for the history rather than sadness, which usually accompanies ruins or abandoned dwellings.

Flagstaff, ArizonaThe trail is steep but short.  It is super easy to navigate.  Dogs are allowed on the rim trail but not down into the Island trail.  Parking is easy and the information center has a lot of displays and interactive exhibits.

I usually give a gear blurb in these articles, so I'm going to take some time to sing the praises of my hydration pack.

The best part about this hydration pack is the cover on the nozzle.  Everywhere I look, I see hydration hoses with no protection for the drinking spout...GROSS!!!  If you have ever traveled with a camel-back type hydration device, you know the hose goes EVERYWHERE...on the ground, swiping the toilet seat....everywhere.  It's disgusting.  This pack has a cap for the drinking nozzle.  Genius.  And why do none of the others have it?  A worldwide plot to try to increase humanity's immune system one germ-ridden outhouse at a time?  I'll pass.  Plus this baby keeps your water cool for hours.  Quick hack:  If you fill the bladder full of ice, tuck it inside a dry bag so the condensation does not wet everything else in your bag.  If you know me at all, you know I break everything.  So far I have not managed to break this hydration system yet.  I also added my Sawyer Water Filtration system with a quick fill, snap in option so I can filter clean water quickly into the bladder.

 As always, be a responsible tourist.  Do not litter, deface, or take artifacts from the canyon.
High Sierra
national monument

Happy travels!

Sammy the Dog TrainerFlagstaff tourism

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