What do unique sandstone formations that mark the passage of time, a prisoner of war camp, lagoons, desert flora, and a vast array of animals have in common? They are all part of the diverse history and present day activities associated with Papago Park, located in Phoenix, Arizona. Today’s post marks the first in a series of interesting lore and points of interest about this unique urban retreat.
With the winter solstice just around the corner, I thought it would be a great time to feature an ancient time piece known as Hole-In-The-Rock, located within Papago Park. Hole-In-The-Rock is a beautiful sandstone butte with large cave like holes in it. The holes, called tofani, are the result of water eroding the minerals in the sandstone over time.
|Visitors enjoying the view from Hole-In-The-Rock|
Archaeologists believe the Hohokam, a native tribe of ancient desert farmers who inhabited the region until the mid-15th century, used Hole-In-The-Rock as a way to keep track of the seasons. During the Winter Solstice, a ray of light from the sun interacts with a seam in the sandstone rock.
The Summer Solstice, which occurs on June 21, is believed to have been marked by the sun shining on a metate grinding slick on the floor of the opening.
For pagans and non-pagans alike, Hole in the Rock is a fun easy hike with great views of the city. There is an easily accessible trail on the back side of the rock formation. The climb takes about 10 minutes. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and take your camera. You could even pack a picnic!
|Hiking trail on the back side of Hole-In-The-Rock|
If you go:
Papago Park is located at 625 N. Galvin Parkway
And remember, stay tuned to Travelpacked for part two of this urban park series.
|Hole-In-The-Rock at Papago Park|