Palatki and Honaki Ruins planned for our morning. We stayed longer and it filled more of our day. I actually drove down to Honaki the afternoon before but the gate had closed. She got a cool shot of a 'face' in a rock above that reminded us of what Jesus' face might have looked like on the cross.
I visited Palatki alone years ago, long before it was a protected site. An old guy said, "So you like the old ruins? Take this old dirt road till you see a double-track rut by a...". It was a bit hard to find and felt way out in the boonies.
I parked where his directions indicated and took a little trail. When I came to the bent over tree and I went under and there it was. I carefully entered what I remember as being a 3-story room and took a photo looking back out one of the upper windows. I also climbed a rock fin nearby for a photo. You can't do that sort of thing now. It is protected and you have to go on guided tours and it is a good thing. Though I was outrageously careful, if enough people wander in the ruins get ruined.
Back then a strange thing happened. I looked from the ruin and could clearly see my parked vehicle. Got to the vehicle and looked back. Could not find the ruin. Hiked back and forth and only convinced myself that somehow it was an "I can see you but you can't see me" place. Then I went over to the panel of pictographs and petroglyphs and found a hand print exactly the size of my own hand with the same bent index finger.
All alone. Wind making noises. And sort of freaked out by seeing a 1,000 year old drawing of my own hand (or so it seemed), I decided to head back to civilization.
Nowadays there is a well-graded dirt road, visitor center, and volunteer tour guides. Yet the place still gives that mysterious feeling as you wonder about what it must have been like way back then. The talk about the cave drawings is really helpful.
Just a couple miles down is Honaki which is less protected and it shows. Still, it is impressive and I would not skip it. Kimberly got some really great photos of the rock art and we have posted a few of them here.
When we got back and had lunch we saw monsoon rain coming. It became afternoon nap day after some Famous Pizza & Beer. Have I mentioned that place yet? So good!
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