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!
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! :-)
Before heading out for the day of sightseeing, Mark filled in as Docent for one tour because they were short-handed. It gave me an opportunity to take some photos of him doing what he LOVES to do; teaching others. Here are some photos of Mark's tour and some beautiful views of Sedona.
Honanki Heritage Site is Palatki's sister site. However, the archeologists have only found proof of the Sinagua people being there and no prior archaic people like they did at Palatki. Even though the archeologists documented over 1200 pictograph images, they do not study it anymore because of all the graffiti has covered up much of the history in a few short years. You can still see the pictographs and the dwelling very well, but because of this, the site is open to visitors without a docent and no reservations are required.
Here are photos of Honanki Heritage Site....
The Chapel of the Holy Cross has been an icon of Sedona since 1956. It has been on our "to-see" list for a while, and it does indeed have a gorgeous view of the valley and nearby mountains! If you plan a visit here, know that the parking spots are pretty small.
Last but not least, is some extra photos around Palatki. Some views from the grotto, along with sunset views and some animals we caught on our night camera. It was a Mule Deer and Hooded Skunk.
Both of us couples spent the day learning the Palatki sites and the stories behind the inhabitants here. It was a whirlwind day full of very useful information. Our official day to work begins tomorrow. Just hope we can learn all the quickly! :-)
Enjoy more photos of our home for 3 months and Palatki Heritage site!
We have finally arrived to the volunteer position we accepted back in Feb 2020! We could only imagine what this place was like, as we have never been to Sedona before.. The beauty definitely did NOT disappoint!
We received an escort from our new boss, and after a 7-mile rocky & gravel road, we finally pulled up to our new 3-month home. After setting up, we were given a tour of the archeology sites as well as the visitor center. We were given our uniforms & badges, and now have a few days to relax before getting to work with our training. The 2nd couple will be arriving tomorrow.
For now, all we know is that I (Jeanette) will be managing the visitor center/museum while answering phones, taking reservations, and giving the tour groups a short introduction and sending them down the path to the site where the docents await. Mark will be working as one of the docents in either the Cliff Dwelling site or the Pictograph Grotto, and giving visitors the information about the archeological sites. As on-site hosts, we will also be protecting the sites, cleaning the area, and getting things ready each morning for the visitors. Since there is another couple working with us, we will work W-Sa, and they will be working Su-W.
On our 3 days off, we hope to visit a LOT of attractions in the area, and get a real good idea of what Sedona is all about.
For now, we have a few days to relax before our training session begins. Enjoy the first pics of our travel and our new 3-month home! :-)
It was great to finally arrive into our winter home state - - where we'll be for the main part of the winter. We love it out here because of the dry climates, and beautiful hills and mountains. This trip was no different.
We were in a good position to see Meteor Crater, Petrified National Park and Winslow, AZ, so we did. I must say that Petrified Forest was stunning! There's no many park you can go to see the Badlands, Ruins, Petrified Rock and Petroglyphs all in one!
Meteor Crater was also spectacular. A lot of people say it's just a hole in the wall, but it was much more to us. It was great to see how the impact of the meteorite traveled, and what a large hole it left for such a small little particle. Anyway, BOTH of these are with the visit!
We also stopped in Winslow on our way through, and when this happens, we really must "stand on the corner" as in the Eagles song. We did much more than that, and Winslow was a great little town to visit!
Stay Details: Homolovi State Park - Site 14
Notes: This park has options for electric or water only. We chose water only, as we were staying 2 nights. The park is home of runs from the Navajo people, and it was also home to about a dozen free ranging donkeys.