Our first outing was a visit to the Palatki Heritage Site. This site preserves an ancient cliff dwelling and pictographs in the red rocks just outside Sedona. Hans and I looked down into this beautiful site last week when we hiked to the top of Bear Mountain. Though it's free to visit the site (with an Interagency or Red Rock Pass), you must make a reservation in advance as they limit visitors in order to monitor the fragile site.
The ruins are located in a huge alcove that protects them from rain. It is estimated that 60 - 90 people lived here for a period of about 100 years. The ruins are over 95% original. I'm only sharing photos of the dwelling from a distance as the closeup photos were just too close to get perspective...you'll have to visit the site and see them in person!
|Seen from the parking area, the dwelling site is in the round alcove bottom center|
Bear Mountain is the white peak top center.
|You can see a small portion of the ruins in this zoomed shot.|
|There were many different colors of pictographs at this site, made by different materials, over many years.|
These drawings are black because the paint element is mixed with animal fat
and their placement over a fire pit caused them to turn black.
Following our Palatki visit we drove to the nearby Aerie trail head for lunch and decided to hike up Doe Mountain about half a mile away. The Doe Mountain trail is short but steep and gives access to incredible views of the rock formations surrounding Sedona and points South and West. We were able to walk around the top of the mesa and scope out a future bike ride in the valley below us.
Bill and Christine introduced us to Geocaching on top of the mesa and we had a neat encounter with a collared lizard who let us get very close and observe him for at least 20 minutes without moving a muscle!
|Hans living on the edge....|
|Christine teaches us about geocaching, Hans found the box!|
|Collared lizard with hedgehog blooms!|
|What a beauty!|
Today we mountain biked the valley below Doe Mountain. There are several miles of interconnecting trails going around various rock formations, crossing washes, climbing short hills and twisting through the beautiful landscape. Some trails were smooth and swoopy, some were rocky and rough. The views were wonderful and the 60 degree temperature made the 12 miles pleasant.
|Just one of many fantastic views...this is from the Aerie trail.|
Bill and Christine will be moving on soon but we hope to reconnect in Washington this summer. A big thanks for hooking us on Geocaching and for hosting dinner!