We're tying up loose ends here in Sedona, and wanted to hike one final place before we left. This place close to us, called Robber's Roost, used to be thought of as a hideout for robbers waiting to make their next move. However, that may be just a myth, because this has a gorgeous high-top view. Even though I didn't think I'd make it all the way up, we took it slow and I accomplished something I didn't think I'd be able to do! Once finally at the top, we were treated with a rare lake.
The roost itself was pretty awesome. Large room, overlooking the valley, with a protective wall in the front and a fire pit. The hole in the wall used as a window was spectacular, but the last section of the path getting there was narrow and scary. Good tennis shoes or hiking shoes definitely help. :-)
Before entering our last day of work, us and the other on-site hosts made dinners and we shared them in the visitor center. It was a great time hosting at Palatki, and we made great friends with the other hosts. We will be sad to leave, but are also excited about getting back on the road. We have some more big plans this year, and are excited to see where the Lord takes us. :-)
This holiday was FULL of surprises for us!
1st.. After being at Palatki for 8 weeks, we finally had a beautiful rain and snow storm, which intensifies the beauty in the area. However, this also means the roads getting to our location are extremely muddy and mostly impassable, so Palatki has to close. This raised some tense moments, as we had planned on spending our days off with Maria and her family, and did not expect a storm.
However, Maria drove the 28-hrs strait to arrive, and because the roads were not as bad as the day before, she braved the mud and 4 miles of back road to meet us at Palatki. We had a quick dinner, gave them a tour of our site, then opened gifts. It was a spectacular evening, but we had to send them to their hotel before dark.
The next 2 days were magical. We spent time in a neighboring hotel with them, and toured Sedona, Jerome, Montezuma Castle & Tuzigoot. We treated her for a birthday dinner out at the Haunted Hamburger in Jerome. I can't believe Maria is 40 already!! WoW! We celebrated with a cake in the hotel, then spent the evening swimming. We saw them off Tuesday, as we took a quick drive to Phoenix and browsed some shops.
Below are some photos of this Christmas and Birthday week.
1st Photo is Mark and Bob beginning a tour. This was a big group, so they divided and conquered.. :-)
2nd - 4th photos are the walk up and in the Grotto Rock Art area. Water in the Grotto area is rare, and when it's there, a small pebble dropped into the water creates a beautiful ripple effect. See the video below. We believe the native people used to do this while smoking their pipes.
5th - 7th photos are during a walk up to the old brother's homestead and garage. In video, Mark explains what is found on the floors.
8th photo was after a rain on our drive home. The beautiful sun reflected on the mountains just so that it looks like lemons! These photos are NOT doctored.
9th photo is on an evening walk to check the trail camera. You can see the pueblo at the bottom left of the photo.
10th photo is our view of the night sky on a 3/4 moon night.
There are many fun and secret places in our area, but this one is public knowledge. It's outside our heritage site on public land, but it's not advertised because the forest service doesn't want it discovered and ruined. The pictographs are awesome! It was so cool to see more and clear drawings from the Sinagua and Hopi people.
Left early to see some area points of interest and to learn more about the native people that lived here years ago.
Wukoki Ruins: Just north of Flagstaff, these ruins also housed the Sinagua people, the same people we had at Palatki. It was really neat to see and learn more about the natives that used these lands years ago.
Wupatki Ruins: Part of the National Park service, these protected ruins also housed the Sinagua and Hopi people years ago.
Sunset Crater: Just because we wanted to go see it. :-)
Grand Canyon: We were close enough, so why not? Haven't seen the canyon since we went with the kids, so it was neat to reminisce at the same rocks we took photos with the kids.
Lowell Observatory: In the spur of the moment, we wanted to go see the stars through those beautiful large telescopes. We bought a membership which includes many more observatories, and we were blessed with seeing some awesome things in the solar system we've never seen before. Looks like we'll be looking for a new telescope! :-)
Walnut Canyon Ruins: This was a spectacular excursion to protected pueblos from years past. Many different native Americans lived in these pueblos that were built deep in the canyons. This is an amazing adventure for anyone!
Mark and I both try to cater to the visitors at Palatki Heritage site as much as possible. We are hoping to help make their experience at this site enjoyable and unforgettable. Today, this was no exception, but the reward was awesome!
There were 2 elderly couples we clicked with right away. They were interested in what we did and our travels, and their lives were very much like ours and our parents' lives. They were awesome to visit with, and it was easy to make sure their tour was special. After their tour, they wanted a photo with both of us, and we hope to see them again in future travels.
People like this is what makes our job spectacular!
Taking a canyon ride on the Verde Valley Railroad was on our bucket list for some time. We were told to do this in the fall so we could see the colors, and even though it wasn't as colorful as the east U.S., it was still pretty awesome. We enjoyed a first class ride with appetizers and lunch with a swig of champaign. It was also warm enough to head out to the uncovered car to get a close-up view of the canyons.
There are some hidden gems in the area, so we decided to go exploring and found some pictographs in a sinkhole nearby. What we though was most cool about this was the deer & hunter. First we saw the hunter behind the deer, but as we walked further east, we saw another hunter facing the deer from the front, as if waiting around the corner for them to come. This is the first time we've seen the pictographs used on a rock formation like this without just being on a flat wall. Calendar items always use pieces of rock and sun for the placement of their crop pictographs, but this is the first time we've seen a hunting scene.
To top this off, we were spooked when we saw the mountain lion! Alas, it was only a rock formation, but still very cool! :-)
The Lunar Eclipse brought a great chance to take other night shots as well. We finally figured out how to line up the phone with the telescope, so we finally nailed an awesome moon shot!
Enjoy the evening & night photos at Palatki.. :-)
There are more than enough trails to choose from around Sedona.. It all depends on your skill level, your desire of challenge and left and elevation you desire in the trail. For our first major hike, we decided to conquer one of the worst (via reviews).. Only the worst based on some challenging steps at the top near the bridge, but definitely one of the most rewarding!
One of our fellow docents suggested parking at the Mescal trailhead and walking in from there, which we did. Excellent advice! We took a nice 4.8 mile hike around the wooded/shaded hills, then finally reached the near summit of the bridge. They were boulders, formed as steps, almost straight up! There were near 100 of them, and because they were narrow, there were people waiting to go both up and down.
We came this way, so why not! I HAD to do this! Mark had no problem, but I still have some major challenges. I worked through them, he was there with me the entire way, and we finally made it to the top! Wow, what a view! People were in line waiting for their own opportunity to get their photo on the bridge alone. I stayed back near the waiting line, and let Mark brave the bridge. It was a nice and tiring walk back, but this was a major accomplishment, at least for me. Now we can look forward to the next challenge!
Ending the evening was a gorgeous ride home in the sunset of Sedona..