Day 1 - Casa Grande Ruins

Trip Start May 09, 2008
Trip End May 16, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Sunday, May 11, 2008

On our first full day in Arizona, we traveled down to Casa Grande Ruins in Coolidge, Arizona.  It is about 1 hour south of Phoenix.  The Casa Grande Ruins are part of the National Park System and is classified as a National Monument.  It is considered one of the largest ruins of the Hohokam Native civilization.  The primary structure here is a four story high by 60 ft. wide gathering house in the center of the Hohokam Village.  The Hohokam were able to build the structure's wall to align with the four points on the compass and had holes in the wall that would align with the setting sun during the summer equinox.  They dug canals and was able to route water to their fields from the nearby Gila River.  However, during the late 1400's the Hohokum society began to break down and by 1694, Spanish explorers from what is present day Mexico discovered the main structure and local natives in near by brush huts.  When asked about who built this structures - the locals responded "Ho-Ho-Kahm" meaning "all gone".  Today, very little remains of the buildings and local structures.  In fact, directly across the street from Casa Grande is a "great sign" of American culture - that's right - a Super Wal-Mart and shopping center!  Well after lunch in the town of Casa Grande, nowhere near the park, we drove back to Phoenix and visited South Mountain.  South Mountain rises above the Phoenix area and the city offers a park overlooking the Central Valley through the haze and dust.  It still is a great view and really gives you an idea on the size of the central valley.
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