Saturday, April 11, 2015


Hopi for "Place of Little Hills"

Most people who visit the park stay only overnight and then move on. I doubt that they take much time to explore. This was our third stay at the park, the second where we visited the ruins villages occupied only by spirits, and the first where we stayed two weeks to really get a feel for the area.

The Tsu'vo trail

A pleasant short hike and petroglyph site

 You can see our jeep alone in the parking lot.  And this was on a Saturday.

The rocks on the trail are an interesting combination of sandstone and igneous.

Looking up toward the top of the north hill from the trail. 

Bird nests, some of which are themselves ruins.

And petroglyphs

 Clearly a snake

This damage was already done on our first visit in 2013.

 The south hill.

 Sentries carefully watched us.

No dogs were with us and the jackrabbit did not feel threatened.


Homol'ovi II - the most developed of the villages

And the most damaged.

There are many tales of the villages and of the pot shards therein being haunted. People who have stolen the shards have mailed them back to the park in order to have a "curse" lifted.  I promise that we have never, ever taken anything from the park. But things have happened to us on each visit, or shortly after leaving.

Our first stop in the area was in the town of Winslow; we never even visited the park. We caught norovirus at the KFC and ended up passing it on. You may be relieved to know that the KFC has since closed.  We haven't braved a restaurant in town since.

Our second visit, the first to the state park, was in March 2013 on our way to the Tucson national spcialty. I never had a chance to post the pictures we made. While we were there, what became known as "the great Shannon episode" erupted at the day job. Who knew that I would be glad there were cameras watching everything that happened in the accounting department.  I don't even want to talk about the rest of 2013.

Our second visit was an overnight stay last October. Not long after leaving we learned that Thor had not shipped the promised parts for our slide repair to La Mesa RV. Minor, but it was a short stay and we did not visit the villages.

And this time? In the first week we were there a server died at one of our customer installations and the IT manager at our largest client gave notice. We stayed an extra week which was uneventful. But sometime after leaving, the jeep windshield took a rock. We will live with the crack for now and hope it spreads slowly.

Enjoy the pictures and if you decide to visit: be careful.

Some old walls visible on the hillsides.

View to the south from the mesa. 

Some of the partially reconstructed rooms. 

Pot shards are everywhere in the site. You can hardly take a step without stepping on some.

Visitors will pick up some of the more interesting shards and place them on rocks from the walls so that others may see them.

Note the scraper tool left with these shards.

Indentations in the rounded side exactly matched my fingers. 

The kivas in this site are rectangular rather than round.


Just as we were leaving, I picked up what seemed to be a plain gray rock and turned it over. The only piece I saw with what appears to be a star or flower or ?? in the decoration.



The Little Painted Desert
On Sunday we drove north on 87 through Navajo lands to visit the Hopi vilages on Second Mesa.  Not far north of the state park we came to a drive along the rim of the red bluffs we could see from Homolovi II.

Respecting the wishes of the people I did not take pictures at the villages. While the Navajo surrounding the Hopi are ranchers, the Hopi are clearly village people still. The people live on three mesas appropriately named "First Mesa", "Second Mesa", and "Third Mesa". Below the mesas is pretty much "typical rez". We drove to the top of Second Mesa and were transported back to a time centuries in the past.

I was fascinated to note the similarities between the spirit villages at Homol'ovi and the Hopi residences of today. Many still live in stone houses and some even still are entered through the roof via ladders.

This picture of the villages on Second Mesa is from  Visit their website for more pictures and information.


Homol'ovi I

Signs at the entrance.

 Approaching the village from the parking area.

Homol'ovi I lies right on the bank of the Little Colorado River. I have no doubt that they were flooded frequently.

There are at least as many pot shards as at the second village.

The San Francisco Peaks.

Paths paved with broken pots.

The outline of rooms.

We found this knife in the village and carefully replaced it. 

Less excavation and looting has been done here. It leaves more to your imagination.

 There were adobe walls right along the river in this area.

At one point Tom picked up one of the fragments from the wall above and rubbed it, pondering its maker. Just then a very concise and dense dust devil appeared and danced between us and down to the river. It was hard not to think it was a spirit telling us that the pot was hers.

We leave Homol'ovi and the Hisatsinom in peace.