10 May 2006 Wednesday

I woke this morning and heard a strange sound… kind of like a car on a gravel road, but only for a second or two, then it would stop.  Or maybe like the sound of a car crossing a bridge… When I got out of the truck, I found the source of the noise… a hot air balloon was landing just over the hill from where we were camped behind.  I was hearing the gas jet as it was coming down.  Not something you’d see everyday.

We drove several miles up a dirt road to Honanki and Palatki Pueblo Ruins.  The first we came to was Honanki, cliff dwellings of the Sinagua people (named by the Spanish: Sin-Agua= without water; the people of Sierra Sin Agua= Mountains without water) who they believe later became the modern day Hopi.  Guides there describe the ruins and the pictographs and petroglyphs on the rocks there.  We bumped into a Pink Jeep Tour and listened in on their tour.  Next, we went to the ruins of Palatki.  We were shocked to find out we needed a reservation!  To walk thru pueblo ruins?  The person at Visitor info never mentioned that!  They let us in anyway and they had guides/volunteers at the two sites, the pueblo ruins and the rock art, to explain things.  Very nicely preserved rock art and and ruins.  

We headed back down all the dirt roads and thru the town of Sedona.  North of Sedona we were going to do a day hike, but found out they have a concessionaire running the area as a State Park and charges $7.00 for parking.  Our Golden Eagle pass won’t work there.  We decided not to do the hike and headed north to Flagstaff.  A had a negative feeling about Sedona and a few of the people we dealt with were not very friendly (not all, some were very nice… and had negative comments about Californians).  maybe the unfriendlies we encountered were Californians?  We did notice, while on the dirt roads, as we’d pass another car, we’d wave.  In the east, you always wave and they will wave back.  Not here.  Andrew started checking license plates and the ones that wouldn’t wave back… were from California.  

We got to Flagstaff, AZ before the Chamber of Commerce closed and stopped there for info.  We also found out about a couple of brew-pubs nearby- like one block away.  We stopped at the Beaver Street Brewery for a sampler and appetizer.  We split a large red ale.  Their beers were ok, but nothing spectacular.  We liked the feel of the city and walked around downtown and then headed out to find some camping.

We took the road up to the Arizona Snow-Bowl, a ski resort with a very short season.  On the way, we found a free forest service dispersed camping area.  Our hike tomorrow begins up the road. 

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