Wednesday, June 23, 2021

SearchResearch Challenge (6/23/21): Finding your way?


When I was a kid, 

I spent several happy years growing up in Cottonwood, Arizona. If you're young, it's basically endless wilderness to explore. Cactus, coyotes, roadrunners, snakes, and scorpions: perfect!   

That early sense of freedom at the end of civilization has persisted in me for years.  I still love to hike and wander in the hills, in Arizona and in California (and truthfully, all over the world).  

This week's Challenge is made up of two exploration / way-finding tasks. 

Tuzigoot site, near Cottonwood, AZ

1.  Just outside of Cottonwood is an ancient pueblo site called Tuzigoot.  The pueblo was built by the Sinagua people between 1125 and 1400 CE and is the largest and best preserved of the many Sinagua pueblo ruins in the Verde Valley.  The name comes from ″Tú Digiz/Tuzigoot″ a Tonto Apache term for "crooked waters," so named for a nearby bent lake formed by a meander of the nearby Verde River.  

Tuzigoot is a wonderful place to wander and explore, but I wonder if it's possible to hike from the Tuzigoot Visitor Center to the end-of-the-road parking lot near the campground on Flycatcher Road (34.7627216,-112.0217716).  Obviously, I could walk alongside the roads from one point to the other, but is there a decent trail that connects the two points?  How long is that trail?  

2. In the Sierras of California, there's a wonderful place to go for a long hike or backpack trip: Evolution Valley.  

It's an easy place to visit (although taking a few days to wander there is definitely the way to go).  But I wonder how difficult that hike would be.  Can you find an elevation profile of the trail from Florence Lake to Evolution Valley?  What's the maximum altitude you would reach while hiking on the obvious trail from the lake to the valley?  

I think these Challenges will keep you busy, possibly inspire you to go out and visit the outdoors during this beautiful summer.  

And when you DO figure out the answers, let us all know HOW you found the path.  What SRS knowledge did you use to discover the best way to navigate in the wildlands?  

Search on! 


  1. I'm trying this Challenge. It is interesting. It is difficult in mobile search.

    In Q2

    [trail Florence Lake to Evolution Valley]

    First result says:
    Although the trail from the head of Florence Lake to Evolution Valley climbs over 2,000 feet, most of the elevation gain comes during the last miles.

    In the second, alltrails site ( I visited it for Q1 too) mentions: Elevation gain 1150m (3772 ft)

    As the difference is a lot, searched [elevation gain trail meaning]

    However, still not sure if the 2000 ft is the maximum altitude. I need to read and research more.

    Out of topic, I saw this tweet earlier. It's interesting and looks amazing. And, the process to make it even more. I started reading the original blog. I think Dr. Russell and maybe someone else could enjoy it too.

    1. Out of topic. Google Doodles are always awesome.

      Today in Mexico: Alebrijes

      And tomorrow, not in Mexico but found it reading more about the previous mentioned Doodle: The Wadden Sea

  2. I have what might be some partial results from Question 1 and can’t seem to find the last piece of the puzzle. Is this where I ask for more information? I got frustrated and thought about moseying down to one of the virtual tasting rooms in search of adult beverages but I resisted and instead turned my attention to Question 2.

    That one seemed rather straightforward. I searched on [elevation profile of the trail from Florence Lake to Evolution Valley] and found

    The elevation profile was at the bottom of the page. If I can read it correctly, it looks like the maximum elevation is about 9800 feet.

    To be more precise I searched [elevation evolution valley] and got
    which specifies that the elevation of Evolution Valley is 9500 feet. This is less than the maximum elevation on the profile. My best guess is that the higher elevation is actually found a little beyond what is called Evolution Valley. (At first I wondered why it is called a valley when you gain 2000 feet in elevation to get there but I suppose it’s the higher peaks around it.)

    I suspect those numbers are rounded off so it could be a little more or less.

    I thought it was cute that Mount Darwin is nearby so I found this:

    “The Evolution Group was created in 1895 by Theodore Solomons, a Stanford math prof. who was pioneering a route (which eventually became part of the John Muir Trail) from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney and was naming features as he encountered them. At treeline in a glaciated valley he found himself among a group of gleaming light-colored granite peaks that he named after prominent proponents of the recently identified evolutionary science. He wrote, “I could think of none more fitting than the great evolutionists, so at-one in their devotion to the sublime in Nature.” The six peaks he named were Mt. Darwin, Mt. Fiske, Ht. Haeckel, Mt. Wallace, Ht. Huxley, and Mt. Spencer. He also named Evolution Creek, which drains the area, and Evolution Lake, one of the most dramatic of the thousands of glacial lakes in the range. After Solomons’ epic trip, two other evolutionary scientists, Lamarck and Mendel were deemed worthy of inclusion in this elite group and had peaks named in their honor. (see etymology section for more details on these revolutionary evolutionary scientists).”

    I think that should be Mt. Huxley.

  3. [elevation profile of the trail from Florence Lake to Evolution Valley?] finds which has all that that you require. the map and elevation which looks to be about 9800 ft. My nosebleed starts at about 3000 ft so I shan't do this lovely hike.

  4. Endless looking at GE and maps and reading trekking accounts finally found a map with your needs laid out.
    Tuzigoot to Cottonwood parking lot. Walk south from the Ruins and pickup the trail that crosses the marsh in a big arc. It intercepts Tavasci Road; turn right and it turns into the Flycatcher parking lot. Looks easy and is about a mile long.

    Good map at

  5. Good morning (or afternoon) y’all – This does not relate to the challenge but I am so excited I need to share. One of the reasons I joined this group was to improve my search repertoire, of course. I have been struggling with a possibly unanswerable question of family history/personal identity for years and it’s been one brick wall after another. This morning I had a few minutes to kill and I must have done something differently because a search took me to a lengthy scholarly article which I was able to download through my public library. One tap on the CTRL F key and it took me to a footnote that had precisely the hint I need to make me think I’m on the right track. Using that hint has taken me to more convincing information. It turns out there’s a wealth of stuff out there on what I thought was a rather obscure topic. I haven’t answered my question but now I have hope.