Thursday, February 08, 2007
7 February 2007
We arrived in Casa Grande in a timely manner and set up in the Casa Grande RV Resort for one day. Timing is everything and as we pulled in we could see the BBQ by the pool going at full tilt. So after signing in, we talked ourselves into the food line for a grilled hamburger lunch.
Like the rest of the desert that we have visited, this place is one big construction zone building houses for all those that want to live in the desert sun. Golf courses and housing developments abound. You can only wonder if anyone is concerned about anything but profit and tax revenues. The ranger at the Casa Grande National Monument mentioned a rather scary fact about all this growth. In the last one hundred years the water table in the aquifer of this area has gone from water at 10 feet in 1906 to over 1000 feet to hit well water today. That is a loss of nearly one thousand feet of water table in 100 years. It is no wonder that there have been discussions about why the desert here should not be “entitled” to have water from the Great Lakes.
The above is not just a rant about inappropriate growth, but also relates in a way to the Casa Grande National Monument. This monument preserves the mysterious buildings of the people known to us as Hohokam culture. This translates as: “people who are all used up.” These people are thought to be descendants of the Archaic hunter gatherers that lived in the area for several thousand years. They are believed to have lived in this area from 300 BC to around 1400AD. They developed into farmers who used irrigation canals, dug by sticks and simple hand tools, to grow numerous crops. They are also known to have traded with many different peoples from as far away as South America. They are thought to have built the huge Casa Grande around 1350, which ironically was near the end of the civilization that this structure represents. The exact use of this structure is not known, but this building and the thousands of miles of irrigation canals, shows them to be the most advanced culture of this region.
The most accepted reason for their disappearance suddenly from the scene is that during this period it is known that the area suffered severe floods for several years followed by years of extreme drought. So, those that survived the floods may have simply left the area in small groups to revert to an earlier type of living. In summary, they lacked the water they needed to survive. Maybe in another hundred years or so people will be leaving the region for the same reason-no water. Or maybe they will get to drain the Great Lakes to keep the golf courses green.