…is great.


The days begin with this view from our site.

The above picture is what greets us every morning.  What a great addition to morning coffee.  As the sun rises, we begin our day getting ready for the steady flow of visitors.  The gate is opened by 9:30AM and it starts.

The Ranch House / Visitor Center.IMG_1567.jpg

View the album HERE then click any picture for slide show.

The Visitor center is the former ranch house and original cabin of Charles Willard.  Mr. Willard began a homestead in this box canyon in the mid 1920s, he was then in his 60s.  He originally built a dwelling against the cliff face and began an orchard.  Estimates range from 2,000 to 5,000 trees were planted.

Remains of early 20th century farming and ranching.IMG_1540.jpg 20130803_095511.jpg

There are a few fruit trees still around and we were able to get some ripe peaches before all were lost to the birds.  They were surprisingly juicy, very good.

The farming and ranching are interesting stories and it must have been really exciting to be here then with all the changes going on in the world at that time.  However the real reason folks come to Palatki en-mass is because of the native people and the marks on the land they left behind.


View album HERE then click any picture for slide show.

The pictographs are extensive.  Some believe there are marks on these panels that date back 8,000 plus years.  Clovis points have been found very close by.  Those would be from about 14,000 years ago.  The focus here today is primarily directed to the 600 to 1275 AD period, the time of the Sinagua.

The dwellingsdwelling.jpg

View album HERE then click any picture for slide show.

As is the case with all of these historic locations, The Palatki Heritage site is a very special place for a variety of reasons.  Special because it it still here!  Oddly enough there is a problem with vandalism and graffiti.  There is no need for anyone to own or possess anything except pictures and memories, otherwise there will be nothing left of these sites.  There is also absolutely nothing to be gained by marking over the images left by the native people.  Once done, it is gone forever.  As Docents, we are here 24 hours a day to keep an eye on things and protect the site.  Done with the lecture!  Just had to say it.  There was significant vandalism just a few miles from here this year resulting in the need for security cameras to be installed.  The site did not have a caretaker.

The main portion of the dwelling (approximately 12 rooms) here has never been excavated or looted so it is a real time capsule and a national treasure.  Within the arch to the left side, an archeological dig took place in the late 1800s by the Smithsonian.  Due to the weakening of the foundation resulting from the dig, a few of the walls collapsed.  It is interesting to note that pictures taken then show the main structure to the right side of the arch to be in much the same condition today as it was then.

For four days a week we are tour guides and help run the gift shop and visitor center.  It is great fun meeting and learning things from the large number of visitors who come from all over the world.

We have the pleasure of working with a large number of volunteers from the community (Sedona) and the director of the site Terrilynn could not be a nicer person to work for/with and report to.  Saturday is the first of three days off and after the four in a row in the sun, we need the break.  Plenty of time to explore the area and take care of business in three days.

An end of day rainbow earlier in the week.photo.jpg

And the ‘work’ day ends at 3:30 everyday.  Most days we are here alone, behind a locked gate about 1/2 mile up the road.  There are reports of a pack of coyotes just across the ‘field’ or more accurately, the desert; but if they are there they are the most quiet bunch of coyotes I have ever heard, or in this case, have never heard.  I did see a decent sized rattler who was coiled and asleep all day, up by the pictographs.  No sight of Javelina’s but lots of lizards and jack rabbits.  The star filled skies are awesome, unlike anything you can see in most parts of Missouri where we used to hang out.  This is a fantastic place to clear your mind.

The good reports on Ryan continue to come.  He will be finishing his recovery at home soon.  Physical Therapy will be needed but I personally believe he will continue to surprise us and the PT will be no longer required in no time at all.

For now, that is the story.  Stay tuned, more to come.