Pictographs at Palatki

I love rocks. Rocks and stones and stone circles and anything really to do with geology and archaeology and anthropology and the like. When I was a kid, I used to visit my dad in England and he’d take my sister and I on all these fabulous adventures searching for stones. Most often they were stone circles or standing stones with the odd fougou or quoit thrown in for good measure! His excitement became my excitement and a lifetime love was born. Now my family adventures often include a search for some obscure stones or maybe an old stone circle or sometimes just a honking erratic.

Sinagua stone dwelling

Palatki – Sinagua stone dwelling

When we took a journey to the Grand Canyon, I was in heaven as we were surrounded by rocks.  One of my favorite parts were the petroglyphs and pictographs that are all around. Everyday my husband, Ray and daughter, Adriana were making little jokes, ‘where are we going today, Mom, Honanki? Palatki? Wasabi?’

Palatki was a gem. When we arrived it was just the three of us and a few others. The guide asked if we’d like to see an area not generally open to the public, not sure what kind of question that was, we had called to make reservations, driven over 6 miles on dusty, dirt roads to find the place in the middle of nowhere, and were full of awe and wonder at the amazing-ness of it all… so obviously, we’d answered, ‘well, I don’t know, if we have to..’ One of the first things we saw was a baby rattlesnake, itself worth the visit, because how cool is that for a bunch of Cape Codders? It was so awesome to see a pottery shard from hundreds of years ago which was found on site, I totally wanted to add it to my collection of fabulous things from around the world, but I behaved myself!

pottery shard

Sinagua pottery shard

The pictographs were just so beautiful. Just in case just being there wasn’t cool enough, we saw fossilized waves on the bottoms of rocks hanging overhead… Waves in the middle of flat, hot, dry, totally landlocked Arizona. Cool.

waves fossilized in rock

Fossilized waves

…and drawings from hundreds of years ago of the very mountains in front of us which showed both the summer and winter equinoxes…

pictograph map of mountains

Sinagua map



…along with hundreds of painted pictures everywhere you looked from generations of people who came before us…

Life is such an amazing adventure. I loved the Grand Canyon, but being in the middle of the wide open of Arizona with a handful of people, a rattlesnake, a few lizards and beautiful art telling stories of a life we can only begin to imagine, it was truly a magical experience I won’t ever forget… (Even if the only name I could actually remember was ‘Wasabi’ !!! A trip to google and our family album soon reminded me of it’s actual name of Palatki!)

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