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Petrified Forest South, AZ
mini location map2018-08-11
25 by photographer avatarHansenaz
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Petrified Forest South, AZ 
Petrified Forest South, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 11 2018
Hiking8.28 Miles 1,283 AEG
Hiking8.28 Miles   4 Hrs   48 Mns   1.77 mph
1,283 ft AEG      8 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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The heat drives me crazy and I had to get out of town. Even though it's a long drive to PFNP and it's not exactly cool (high about 90deg) I really like it there and every previous visit, no matter how poorly planned, has been well worth it.

I had two destinations in mind: 1) an ancient habitation site that I had seen in an archaeology report and 2) a place called "Pottery Hill" that I'd heard about in old HAZ posting by PaleoRob and Randal.

You can pretty much walk wherever you want in the Park but where to "legally" leave the car can be an issue. I knew where the ruin site was but scouted around a bit before deciding where I could start. PFNP always has good walking with level open ground punctuated by scrambles on collapsed rim rock and interesting "ball bearings" on hardpan ups and downs.

The archaeology report calls this a Basketmaker II site, about 2000yrs old, so ~1000 years older than the most prominent ancient cultural stuff in the park. They lived in pithouses so no ruin walls and at first I didn't see anything. But eventually I noticed several metates and a fair amount of plain pottery which looked different from what I'm used to. There was also a lot of flaked petrified wood which was probably perfect for tool making.

I drove up the road a bit, parked near the Flattops where I've walked before, and set off to find Pottery Hill. I had picked up a few clues from the triplogs and marked a couple candidate waypoints. I had not looked closely at the map and planned a best route to the waypoints so I got to play around in the washes and mounds as I worked my way around. It's always surprising to me that going around a corner, or up a hill or down a gully can present a completely different scene....almost like a video game where you end up on a new level.

The first couple candidates were duds but I did pass by a nice petroglyph panel. It appears to have fallen down the hill from the top edge of one of the flattops. The last candidate was the winner. I started finding some painted and corrugated pottery pieces but not many and I was a little disappointed. But after flipping a coin and deciding to climb a gully taking me around the hill I came out on "another level" where there was pottery everywhere. It looks like the hill is (somehow) just full of pottery pieces which erode out of the side and wash down the hill. I realize this doesn't make sense but that's what it looked like.

Completed a loop back walking in washes and a bit on the road. Glad I went.
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