|"Map Room", a large stone slab with a representation of an ancient canal system map cut into it|
I mentioned in my Canalscape post that the Sunnyslope Canal Demonstration project won an American Society of Landscape Architects design award in 2001, but I didn't have any good pictures of it then. Here's my favorite part, a big stone slab which depicts a map, or perhaps model would be a better term since it once did something, too, and in my book any time a map does anything physical like put actual water where water would go, or put actual dirt or plants where they would go, it becomes a model. I said "once did something" because I don't think the water fixture that used to fill it up fills it up any more. It looks used up. Which is appropriate, since the map is of the canal system created by the Hohokams in this valley over the nearly 1500 years they lived here, and "hohokam" means "all used up". Their canal engineering was pretty good, though, because many of today's canals follow the ancient routes they dug by hand. I could bring a couple of extra bottles of water up here to dump in here and watch it evaporate. Maybe I could ponder why a people who made their homes here for 1500 years decided to leave. From what I understand from visiting the Pueblo Grande museum, there's no clear archeological evidence to support an explanation for their departure, so the old standbys are proffered: disease, famine, war, overpopulation, drought. So for more reason than one, this might be a good place to stop on a bike ride to ponder where we've been, and where we go from here. Which is probably one of the intents of the landscape designers who put this slab here. Although I've also seen it used for cleaning fish pulled out of the canal. Probably not native species, though, probably the fat triploid grass carp, err, "white amurs" SRP puts in here to control weeds. "Triploid" means that they are induced to have three sets of chromosomes in order to prevent them from reproducing. Seedless watermelons are also triploid. I wonder if you could catch a grass carp using seedless watermelon for bait. Get up. Go ride.