I’m frugal. I think frugality is what divides the middle class from rich folk. Studies show that the richer people are, the more discerning they are about where and how they spend their money. One day I plan to be extremely discerning, get my drift?
Somewhat unrelated, I decided to spend my money on a National Parks Annual Pass last weekend. This pass grants unlimited access to all national parks and monuments for one year, and I can bring up to 3 people for free. Because I’m frugal (back to that now), I’m determined to get to most out of the $80 I just spent.
My first stop: Montezuma Castle National Monument. This cliff-dwelling community was built around 1100 AD by the indigenous Sinagua people. Around 1425 AD they moved away, but much of their structures were preserved and discovered centuries later as Europeans entered the area. Interestingly, this monument’s name is a bit off as neither is it a castle nor was Montezuma, a Mexican emperor if I’m correct, ever connected to the settlement.
At sunny and 95 degrees, I thought I was going to have to hike up to this semi-ancient scene. Wrong. The monument runs you through a naturally shaded loop along the cliff side, and in under a half hour you’ve taken in the castle and its surrounding features.
A side note: Since beginning my trip, I’ve come across countless couples, families and groups traveling together. I’m really out here alone – most of the time. At Montezuma Castle I did meet a 40-something year old woman traveling by herself. We took each other’s pictures in front of the monument and I asked her why she’d decided to travel alone. “I decided that I can’t keep waiting for someone to be able to come with me anymore,” she said. And she’s right; if you wait for friends to have the money, the time off from work and the interest in going you’ll be waiting forever. So, just go. Good for her.
Regular admission to the Montezuma Castle National Monument is currently $6/adult. See more here.