January 31, 2012

1/20/12 – Dead Horse Ranch SP

Dead Horse Ranch State Park is within the city limits of Cottonwood, AZ.  

How the park got it's name is pretty cool.  A family was looking for a ranch to buy in the late 1940s. At one of the ranches there was a dead horse lying by the road. After two days of viewing ranches, Dad asked the kids which ranch they liked the best. They said, “The one with the dead horse!”  

We went on a hike to the Tavasci Marsh—took a side-trip that dead-ended on the wrong side of the marsh.  Although we had to backtrack, the view was nice.

Along the way, there was a great view of Tuzigoot National Memorial across the river.
There's a viewing platform at the marsh--but only a couple of coots floating in the water. 

January 29, 2012

1/18/12 - Palatki Heritage Site

Not big enough to be a national monument, this archeological site at the end of a 9-miles of dirt road near Sedona, AZ, is designated a “Heritage Site”.  Palatki means red house in Hopi, named by an early Smithsonian archeologist.  The Hopi didn’t care what it was called.

Note: I took pictures here, but somehow managed to lose them all (don't ask!) All pictures are those my backup cameraman took--good thing he came along!

The Palatki Heritage Site is actually two sites: the two-story-tall ruins of a Sinagua Cliff Dwelling and a collection of over 1,000 petroglyphs and pictographs carved and painted into the rock panels centuries ago.
There was a ranch here in the 1920s.  While the ranch house was under construction, the rancher built a little shack under the cliffs near the rock art.  Maybe he liked living near his own private gallery?
There are 2 trails: one leads to the rock art and the other to the cliff dwellings. We could get close to the artwork.  I liked the pictographs that had been darkened to black from wood smoke.

We could only view the cliff dwellings from a trail ¼ mile away, using borrowed binoculars.  Used to be you could walk right up to the ruins, but a crack developed at the top of the arch just above them a year ago.  Works for me…
There’s an interpreter at each site who shares the history, answers questions--and guards the area from souvenir hunters or wanna-be graffiti artists. (Definitely can't trust those tourists!)  The guy at the cliff dwellings said the archeologist collected most of the artifacts and shipped them back to the Smithsonian, where they still remain packed in their wooden crates. (Apparently you can’t even trust the scientists.) 

A few more pictures of Palatki HS here