Hole in the Rock

Hole-in-the-Rock and Harrah's AK-CHIN Indian Comunity Casino

March 8, 2006

On my web page about Pueblo Grande, I made reference to a place called Hole-in-the-Rock which was used by the Hohokam people as a prehistoric astronomical observatory. After visiting Pueblo Grande I did some research to find out where Hole-in-the-Rock is located.


I had been to Papago Park previously, but I did not know about this area, and therefore did not notice this big rock with the hole through it.

In this photo, you can see a hole that goes through the rock. However, there are actually two holes in this rock, and I believe that it is the other one that was used as an observatory.

There is a short trail that leads around the back side of the rock and then up to the hole that you can see in the first photo. Once you get around to the back side of the rock, you can see the second hole. And you can see where the sun shines through this hole onto the rock itself. I believe that it is this hole that the Hohokam used as an observatory.

In this photo, you can see both holes, although the hole that you can see from the front just looks like a dark hole or well in this photo. I was unable to get to a position where I could see through both holes at the same time.

In this photo, the hole that goes through the rock, the one you can see from the front, looks rather small. However, it is actually large enough to walk through, stooping just slightly. In this photo, you can see through the rock and see the road that leads to the trail, a portion of the Phoenix Zoo, and the ugly little copper colored rental car I had.

There were a few places inside the cave that were darker than the rest of the space. I do not know if these were just darker rocks, or if these spots were used as campfires or cooking fires at some point.

This view, from one end of the space inside the rock, shows that there is a large enough space here that it could have been used as shelter for the Hohokam people. You can see some steps hewn out of the rock, but I think this was done recently, rather than by the ancient people who frequented this place.

Harrah's AK-CHIN Indian Comunity Casino

After leaving Papago Park, I drove east on I-10 to the Gila river casinos. I stopped at the Wild Horse Pass casino.

This photo shows the design of this casino, which has a very southwestern US feel to it.

From there, I drove to Maricopa to the Harrah's AK-CHIN Indian Comunity casino.

This casino has a sculpture in front which depicts the harvest of fruit from the Saquaro cactus, which is still an important tradition for the Ak-Chin O'odham people.

This photo is a better photo of the bottom portion of the sculpture, but the fourth figure is not visible in this photo.

Here is a view of the entire sculpture.

In this photo you can see the structures on the top of the casino. I do not know what they represent to the Ak-Chin people, but they remind me of something you might see on top of a Budhist temple in Cambodia.


I do not gamble much, but I like to collect chips from casinos in places I've been. While I have been in Arizona, I have been to six casinos.
First, when I was coming back from Sedona on the second weekend I was in Arizona, I stopped at the Cliff Castle casino. I did not have any cash with me when I got here, so I got $100.00 from an ATM. Instead of giving me 5 twenty dollar bills, it gave me a one-hundred dollar bill. So when I sat down at a blackjack table, I had to put up the $100.00. I usually only drop $40.00 on the table, but this time I had no choice. It would have made no difference because if I had lost forty dollars, I would have stopped playing anyway.
As usual, I lost a little and I won a little. I did get one blackjack, which pays $7.50 on a $5.00 bet. I only play at $5.00 tables. Once I got to the point where I was back to even, plus the extra $2.50 from the blackjack, I left the table. I gave a $1.00 chip to the dealer, kept the other $1.00 chip and the 50 cent chip, and cashed in the rest of the chips to get my $100.00 back. Most casinos use half-dollars, but this casino uses 50 cent chips. So far, I am up $2.50
The next casino I went to was a few weeks later. I went to one of the Casino Arizona casinos. When they changed dealers at my table, I left the table because changing dealers usually changes my luck. When I left the table, I was up $15.00, so now I'm up $17.50
A day or two later I went to the other Casino Arizona casino. I assumed that the chips would be different at the two casinos. Once I put down my $40.00 and got my chips, I saw that they were the same as the chips at the previous casino. I played for a while anyway, and this time I left the table after getting a remarkable three blackjacks in a row! This time I had won $30.00. So now I was up a total of $47.50
On Wednesday, March 8, I drove down route I-10 a little ways to the Gila River casinos, stopping at the Wild Horse Pass casino. I started losing pretty bad at the start, but managed to get to the point where I was up by $10.00, so I quit. Now I'm up $57.50. Since the chips at the Wild Horse Pass casino just said Gila River on them, and didn't refer to the specific casino by name, I assumed that the chips at the other two Gila River casinos would be identical, so I decided not to go to them.
From there I went to Maricopa to the Harrah's Ak-Chin casino, and after losing pretty bad at the beginning again, I left the table $10.00 ahead again. Now I'm up $67.50
On Thursday morning, I had some time since my flight home didn't leave until about 4:00 PM, so I went to the Fort McDowell casino. If I put down my $40.00 and lost it all, it wouldn't have mattered because I would still be ahead overall. When I got there, they had two tables with $2.00 minimum bets, and other tables $10.00 and higher, no $5.00 tables. So I sat down at one of the $2.00 tables and put down $20.00. The way things worked on the $2.00 tables was that you had to put up a minimum bet of $2.00, and also a 50 cent chip. The 50 cent chip the dealer took off the table before play started. Then things went along normally based on a $2.00 bet. So basically, you had to pay 50 cents for the privelege of playing! They didn't do this on the higher stakes tables. Also, the other people playing at this table didn't seem to have much concept of how to play blackjack, and when you should hit or stand. So, once I got to the point where I was a couple of bucks ahead, I gave the dealer a one dollar chip as a tip and cashed out. So now I am up a total of $69.50, and I won at least a little at each of the six casinos I went to on this trip. Quite an acomplishment!

Go To Project Gutenberg

Contents © Copyright 2001 Author: Lee Briggs except where noted. All rights reserved.