Photo Essay: Cliffdwellers, Arizona

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Every Friday on Twitter, the hashtag #frifotos can be seen floating around. Friday is the day designated to share photos dealing with a specific theme. This week, the theme is simple: STONE. I haven't participated in #frifotos before, but this seemed like a great week to start.

Here's my submission on the stone theme:

Cliffdwellers, Arizona

On Route 89A between Page, Arizona, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, travelers drive along the bottom of the Vermillion Cliffs, eventually coming upon a rather curious site.

The Vermillion Cliffs

There, at the bottom of the cliffs, are a collection of huge boulders scattered about haphazardly, as if a giant had abandoned a game of marbles halfway through.

This area is called Cliffdwellers.

The Cliff-Dwellers were an actual group of ancient people called the Anasazi, who were probably ancestors of the Peublo people that we all learned about in middle school. The Anasazi were nomadic in nature, and would seek shelter in the cliffs-side caves of the American Southwest (hence the name Cliff-Dwellers).

Cliffdwellers, Arizona, however, does not refer directly to the ancient people. Instead, it is a popular stop for many travelers because of a more modern woman.

The story goes that in the early 1900s, a woman traveling alone through northern Arizona got lost. Needing somewhere to spend the night, she happened upon this spot, and discovered some “caves” that had been formed by parts of these boulders being eroded away.

She spent the night there and loved it so much that she later purchased the land.

She then built a “house” of sorts, which still stands today — half stone and half wood.

Now, whether this story is true, I have no idea. But regardless of its authenticity, Cliffdwellers is still a pretty cool place to stop.

Has anyone else stopped at this spot in Arizona? If so, what did you think?


"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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