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Holy Petroghlyph Batman!
No disappointments on this outing. Having seen the sign on route to the Bell Trail several times I often passed up this option. With little knowledge of the trail, I finally gave this baby a go, glad I did! You may be asking why I have included such a short trail. Here's my suggestion. Since most Sedona trails are short, you can include this one on the same outing. With over 1000 well-preserved petroglyphs, this is a site to see!
Head on into the enormous parking area. Follow the sign pointing you down to the pay station. Go into the building and pay the $3 per person fee. The host registers you into a logbook. She gave me my money back in a typical small-trail-type-pay envelope. Then instructed me to deposit this envelope in a white barrel tube found near the petroglyph site. I didn't get her name, but she was very enthusiastic and smiley. I was the first visitor of the day. I arrived exactly when they open, which at this writing was 9:30 am. She instructed me to tag along with this gentleman that was going to open the gates.
I guess this was my lucky day. John Sturgis was the gentleman and found out he's an archeologist from the V-Bar-V Heritage Site! He said he works there three to four days a week. I believe I received more information on the walk to the site than most do. You follow the jeep tracks to the site. On the way back, a trail takes off to your right. This takes you through the field and back to your vehicle.
John told me about the old ranch house. Only a vine-covered chimney remains of the site. I'm sorry to say I didn't have my recorder on, and my memory is terrible. He did mention a possible pit site that was marked off to the left. I asked why anybody would believe such a place exists in a field worked over by rancher time and time again. He explained how he and a crew walked the whole area in a line, searching for anything. Well, one guy was dowsing the area and believed he found a pit house. Most probably balk at the thought. Having dowsed before, a chance in my mind exists. John explained how the V-Bar-V name comes from the ranch brand and that it was registered.
John unlocked the fence that protects the panels as I dropped my pay enveloped into the white barrel tube. I may not get around to many petroglyph sites in the heavier concentrated states, but this was huge to me. The panel left of the center is packed tightly with petroglyphs. To the far right, something is different, but I've forgotten what John said about that. On the far left and back is what is believed to be a flute-less Kokopelli. John suggested that the artist was distracted and unable to complete the etching. I added that the two maidens up to the left were larger. Therefore he may have been more interested in making whoopee than music!
I asked about the location of the site and why it would receive so much traffic. John talked about Sacred Mountain in the distance, among other things of which I won't go into detail. I do recommend this easy half-mile walk to check out the largest petroglyph site in the Verde Valley!
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Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.