After initially seeing these ruins from the overlook near the VC, I was excited to see them up close. The other 3 Tucson'ers arrived around 11pm the night before to the Sunset View Campground. The next morning, after a brief introduction to my new friends, the six of us scurried off for our first group hike to Betatakin. Overall, there were 14 who had signed up the night before at the VC.
We started our hike early, 8am Navajo (7am Bellagonna) with our guide Paul Johnson (a traditional but friendly Navajo gentleman) whom we followed in our vehicles from the VC to the trail-head roughly one mile away. Since the first two miles of the trail are the same as Keet Seel, we all got an idea of what lie ahead for our Sat/Sun Keet trip.
Mr. Johnson knew his stuff. He was informative with his delivery albeit a bit soft-spoken; so I made sure I was nearby at all his interpretive breaks/talks. I learned quite a bit and was becoming more and more intrigued at each stop. (of course this later cost me 50 bone$ in informative reading material back at the book store).
We arrived at the Betatakin ruins but all were very disappointed that we could proceed no further than the base of the first section. An immense tease after expecting so much. (I found out later, they have been closed for more than year after several ignorant yahoos disrespectfully sat on walls and/or damaged the artifacts. I immediately thought the same would apply to Keet Seel.)
Never feeling fully satisfied, we reluctantly hiked back after a brief snack outside the gated area (the only area we were allowed to eat at near the ruins). The hike out was not bad with light day packs.
Overall, was a beautiful day to hike and our ranger was very interesting....the let down of not getting inside the ruins still isn't sitting well with me.
but you can't beat the price....